Grunkohl mit Pinkelwurst or kale with sausage is a popular specialty dish in North Germany that is frequently served in the winter months during a winter celebration or cooking party known as a Gruenkohlfahrt.
A Gruenkohlfahrt is a winter cooking party popular in Northern Germany in which a group of friends get together and eat some cooked kale. It usually occurs between November and February.
A Gruenkohlfahrt begins with a walk outdoors in the brisk winter air. At some point during the walk, the group of friends stops in a designation area along the hiking path to have a few drinks of schnapps to get warm before completing their hike to one members home or a chosen restaurant for dinner.
The walk ends when it’s dark at the home or restaurant where dinner will be served.
Dinner after a Gruenkohlfahrt generally consists of cooked kale that is combined with mustard, bacon and sausage. The food should be ready to eat immediately after the walk and consist of, not only the kale and sausage, but other meats and potatoes as well.
The party ends with crowning of the king and queen of kale, who will host the next year’s Gruenkohlfahrt party.
Grunkohl mit Pinkelwurst
The main dish, Grunkohl mit Pinkelwurst, consists of kale (fresh, frozen or canned), mustard, onions, oats, bacon, ham (optional), and some types of sausage in addition to the pinkelwurst, which is a type of German sausage made from pork, beef fat, oats, onions, salt, sugar and spices.
Other Types of German Cooking Parties
Gruenkohlfahrt is just one type of trip and cooking or dinner party Germans partake. Each type is named for the food eaten after the trip. Some types include the Gruenkohlfahrt for kale (kohl is kale), Kaffeefahrten is for cake and coffee (kaffee is coffee) and Butterfahrten for toll-free goods.
What I Did
I browsed the net for recipes and ended up MacGyvering two or three recipes with my own ideas into what you see below. I love German sausage and am on good terms with kale but might try spinach next time. I had no time to order pinkelwurst and had no oats on hand, so it’d be better if I had. I used canned kale, sliced bacon and Johnsonville bratwursts. I’m sure it’s far from authentic but still tasted good. Rest assured the recipe below is pretty close to authentic (correct me if it’s off at all) but feel free to make substitutions.
My finished dish didn’t look very tasty but tasted great. The kale and sausage was full of flavor without a pungent kale taste. It did need a better, smokier bacon flavor and be careful with salt because many ingredients contain salt, so I recommend a low-sodium beef stock and definitely do not add extra salt.
The potatoes surprised because now they taste like yams or sweet potatoes with just a hint of its original potato flavor. It’s the best of both worlds and I might even serve them instead of yams this Thanksgiving.
Overall, my Grunkohl mit Pinkelwurst turned out great and, aside from the lack of schnapps, it still being warm and September not having authentic German ingredients, having almost no local friends who like German food and being disabled, I’d definitely consider going on a Gruenkohlfahrt.
Kale and Sausage
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, chopped
12 ounces Kale, cooked
1 cup of beef stock
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 pound bacon
1 tablespoon mustard
1 Pinkelwurst, chopped and sautéed
Several links of sausage or bratwurst
4 teaspoons rolled oats
In a large pot, sauté the onions in the butter until tender.
Add the kale to the pot and allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
Pour in the beef stock, add salt, pepper and sugar, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Place the bacon on top of the kale, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Add the mustard to the kale and stir.
Add the Pinkel and other sausage links, cover and cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
Stir in the rolled oats and cook for another 5 minutes, until the oats have thickened the liquid ingredients into a sauce.
Slice the bacon and sausage at the serving table.
A few medium-sized potatoes, diced into cubes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Heat butter in a pan and fry the potatoes until tender and just starting to brown.
Add the brown sugar to the potatoes, sprinkling it around evenly. Continue to fry the potatoes until golden brown and the sugar has just begun to caramelize.
Serve the potatoes on the side of the kale and sausage.
Sources: thelifeingermany.com, germandeli.com, germanfood.about.com