Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (2024)

Jump to RecipeJump to Video

Grünkohl and Pinkel is a regional delicacy of North-West Germany. A hearty kale stew that is cooked with ham and sausages such as Pinkel, Kassler, and Kochwurst. A traditional winter dish that is very popular around January and February.

I have lived in Bremen since 2019. My father was a Bremer, as someone from Bremen is called, so I grew up knowing this dish, but it was not until I moved here that I understood how significant this dish is to the region.

Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (1)

What is Grünkohl?

Grünkohl is the German word for kale, a green curly cabbage that is grown for its edible leaves. "Grün" is green in German and "Kohl" is the word for cabbage. Kale in German translates as "Green Cabbage". Other names for this vegetable are "Braunkohl" and "Krauskohl". Braunkohl translates as Braun Cabbage and stems from the brown colour that the leaves take once they are cooked. "Krauskohl" translates as curly cabbage and stems from the curly leaves of kale.

This German kale stew is typical in Oldenburg, Bremen, Osnabrück, Ostfriesland, part of the state of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, and the state of Schleswig Holstein. In a time before supermarkets, every village in the north grew their variety of kale.

Cultural Background

Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (2)

Grünkohl Zeit - Time for kale

The season for eating Grünkohl in the North is called "Grünkohl Zeit." It is typically around when it gets cold outside. This is approximately around the end of October to March. This is because the Grünkohl needs frost to develop its typical sweet flavour. If you harvest it too early it, could end up tasting bitter. In Germany, it is said that the soil should have frozen at least once before you eat Grünkohl. [Source: Eat.de] The high time for eating kale in Germany is January to February when its especially cold.

Kohlfahrt - a Grünkohl Tradition

When the frost starts to appear you will also find groups of people pulling a hand cart over the fields, all with the same destination: a pub that serves the kale dish. On the way, they stop to drink schnaps and play games. Equipment for the walk is a Schnapsglas that hangs around your neck and a hand card, loaded with games, schnaps and snacks on the way. The Kohlfahrten vary in size. They could be as small as four people or up to a hundred people. At the end traditionally the "Kohl Queen and King" are announced. They are responsible for organising the next Kohlfahrt. [source: kohlhauptstadt.de]

Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (3)

What meat and sausage to use for authentic Grünkohl?

The meat used in German kale dishes varies by region. The most famous are the Bremer Grünkhol and Pinkel. However, every region has their own sausage. Typical meat supplements are Kassler, Pinkel and Kohlwurst.

What are Kohl and Pinkel?

In Bremen and Oldenburg the kale is served with a sausage called Pinkel. It is a form of "Grützwurst" a savoury sausage made from pork, bacon, oats, and barley. Flavoured with pork lard, onions, pepper and other spices.

There are regional variations. The Bremer Pinkel contains less meat and more bacon which makes it fattier than the Fleisch-Pinkel that is traditional in Oldenburg and Ammendland.

Because Pinkel usually is eaten with kale it is also known as "Kohlwurst". (Cabbage Sausage).

Where to buy Pinkel sausages?

What is Kassler?

Kassler is a cured and smoked piece of ham that is common in Germany. It is very similar to Gammon, so I would just use this if you cannot get hold of it.

What is Kochwurst?

Kochwurst is a grainy smoked sausage. Especially popular in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. They are made from pork, and the exact recipe depends on the butcher.

These regional specialities are difficult to get hold of abroad and I would replace them with Mettenden or another smoked sausage.

Braunschweiger Bregenwurst

Braunschweiger Bregenswurst is similar to Kochwurst but comes from Braunschweig as the name suggests. It is also very popular in Lower Saxony. But depending on the region it can be a cooked or raw sausage. [Source: GuterGenuss.de]

How to make Grünkohl and Pinkel

I am giving you a traditional Grünkohl recipe for "Grünkohl mit Pinkel". Do not worry if you cannot get Pinkelwurst as it is a speciality sausage that is not even available everywhere in Germany. I have listed some substitutions below.

Ingredients:

For the kale

  • kale(fresh or frozen, or canned. You can buy German kale in jars abroad.)
  • onions
  • Spices allspice, bay leaves , Juniper berries (affiliate link)
  • lard- ideally goose fat or pork lard, but you can also use vegetable oil
  • beef stock/broth
  • mustard (affiliate link)- ideally German mustard (affiliate link) but you can replace it with Dijon mustard (affiliate link).
  • oats - to thicke the stew
  • sugar

Sausages and Meat

  • Smoked pork belly
  • Smoked ham- German Kassler is traditional, but you can use ham, or smoked gammon instead.
  • Pinkel sausages (these are optional use smoked sausages instead)
  • Smoked sausages (you can use Mettenden or any other smoked sausage will do)

Grünkohl and Pinkel Recipe- Step by Step

  1. If using fresh kale, wash it and remove the leaves from the stems. Blanche the leaves in boiling salted water, and then rinse with cold water.
Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (4)
  1. Peel the onions and finely cube them. In a large saucepan (approx 5-litre volume) heat up the lard. Then fry the onions until translucent. Add the two tablespoons of mustard (affiliate link) and mix well.
  2. Add the kale to the pot in little portions and briefly fry it until the kale starts to cook.
Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (5)
  1. Once all the kale is in the pot, pour in the beef broth with the allspice, bay leaves, and sugar.
  2. Create a little hole in the middle of the kale and add your piece of ham and pork belly to it. Close the pot with a lid and leave it to cook on low to medium heat for approximately 45 minutes.
Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (6)
  1. Then stir in the oats, this will thicken up the kale stew.
  2. 15 minutes before the stew is ready add the smoked sausage and Pinkel on top to cook.
Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (7)
  1. Before serving, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the sausages. If you are using Pinkel sausages, then slice one open and mix in with the kale.
  2. On a serving plate, place the kale with the sausages. Slice the ham and add it to the platter. Serve with boiled potatoes or Bratkartoffeln (German fried potatoes)

What to serve with Grünkohl and Pinkel

This German kale is quite hearty so it is best to serve it with a beer or water. Pils or dark beers are well suited.

This kale stew is normally served with boiled potatoes or Bratkartoffeln.

For dessert, I would suggest something light. Another traditional recipe from the North is Rote Grütze. A red berry compote. When you serve it with sour cherries it is typical from Bremen.

Storage

The cooked kale stays in the fridge for up to four days. It is also perfect for freezing. Frozen it should stay good for up to 6 months.

More North German Recipes

  • Bremer Klaben - a North German Christmas Bread
  • Authentic Northern German Potato Salad
  • German Shortbread Recipe - Heidesand Cookies
  • Hanseaten - German iced cookies

Recipe

Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (12)

Authentic Grünkohl and Pinkel (German-style Kale)

Marita

A hearty kale stew from the North of Germany. Perfect for those cold winter months.

5 from 5 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 1 hour hr 30 minutes mins

Total Time 2 hours hrs

Course Main Course

Cuisine German

Servings 6 people

Calories 486 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg kale 3 lb, 529 oz, fresh or frozen or from a jar.
  • 4 onions about 350 gr / 12 oz
  • salt and pepper
  • 500 ml beef broth 2.5 cups
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 3 tablespoon lard ideally goosefat or pork lard, but you can also use vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon mustard ideally German mustard (affiliate link) but you can replace it with Dijon mustard (affiliate link).
  • 2 tablespoon oats
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar

Sausages and Meat

  • 250 g smoked pork belly 0.5 lb / 8.5 oz
  • 1 kg smoked ham 2 lb or 35 oz, German Kassler can be substituted with smoked gammon, smoked pork chops, smoked pork loin, smoked pork neck,
  • 4 Pinkel Sausages this is optional as they are difficult to get hold of abroad. Replace with a smoked sausage.
  • 4 smoked sausages in Germany Mettenden or Rauchenden. But any smoked sausage will do. Popular subsitute is a Polish Kielbasa

Instructions

  • If using fresh kale, wash it and remove the leaves from the stems. Blanche the leaves in boiling salted water, and then rinse with cold water.

    1.5 kg kale

  • Peel the onions and finely cube them. In a large saucepan (approx 5-liter volume) heat up the lard. Then fry the onions until translucent. Add the two tablespoons of mustard (affiliate link) and mix well.

    4 onions, 2 tablespoon mustard (affiliate link), 3 tablespoon lard

  • Add the kale to the pot in little portions and briefly fry it until the kale starts to cook.

  • Once all the kale is in the pot, pour in the beef broth with the allspice, bay leafs, juniper berries (affiliate link) and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

    500 ml beef broth, ½ teaspoon allspice, 2 bay leafs, 4 juniper berries (affiliate link), ¼ teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper

  • Create a little hole in the middle of the kale and add your piece of ham and pork belly to it. Close the pot with a lid and leave it to cook on a low to medium heat for approximately 45 minutes. Remove the ham and pork belly.

    1 kg smoked ham, 250 g smoked pork belly

  • Then stir in the oats, this will thicken up the kale stew.

    2 tablespoon oats

  • 15 minutes before the stew is ready add the smoked sausage and pinkel on top.

    4 smoked sausages, 4 Pinkel Sausages

  • Before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste. Chop the pork belly into 0,5 cm cubes and mix it back into the Kale. If you are using Pinkel sausages, then slice one open and mix in the content with the kale. Discard the casing.

  • On a serving plate, place the kale with the sausages. Slice the ham and add it to the platter. Serve with boiled potatoes or Bratkartoffeln. (recipe also on the blog).

    You could also serve the meat and kale in two separate bowls.

  • Traditionally you will also Rote Grütze (recipe on the blog) with Vanilla Sauce for dessert.

Video

Notes

Reheating

I found it easier reheating the kale in the pot, when the meat is removed from the post, as otherwise it is easy to burn the bottom of the pan. Once the kale is hot, you can put the sausages and meat back in to warm up.

Storage

The cooked kale stays good in the fridge for up to four days. It is also perfect for freezing. Frozen it should stay good for up to 6 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 19gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 896mgPotassium: 1216mgFiber: 12gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 25362IUVitamin C: 242mgCalcium: 685mgIron: 5mg

Keyword German Kale, Grünkohl, Pinkel

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Authentic Grünkohl mit Pinkel (German Kale recipe and Pinkelwurst) (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Maia Crooks Jr

Last Updated:

Views: 5376

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Maia Crooks Jr

Birthday: 1997-09-21

Address: 93119 Joseph Street, Peggyfurt, NC 11582

Phone: +2983088926881

Job: Principal Design Liaison

Hobby: Web surfing, Skiing, role-playing games, Sketching, Polo, Sewing, Genealogy

Introduction: My name is Maia Crooks Jr, I am a homely, joyous, shiny, successful, hilarious, thoughtful, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.