Grünkohl und Pinkel (Stewed Kale and Sausage)

Shortly after we moved to Northern Germany from Aachen, I noticed restaurants advertising ‘Grünkohl satt’ and was curious as to what this dish was. I found a recipe similar to this one (I can’t remember the original source, but this one is very close to what I had printed out) and learned that it was a dish from this region.

As described in the link: “Germans celebrate winter with a Grünkohlfahrt, which is a brisk hike accompanied by schnapps and a warm kale dinner afterward.”

This dish is only made here in the winter, and the kale is typically sold in 1kg bags (usually cleaned and all cut up ready to go). It seems like a lot, but it boils down. We’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe to accommodate 1kg of kale and uses chicken stock instead of beef bouillon.

Ralph bought the sausages from Feddern, our Saturday market butcher, who makes them himself. They were sooo goooood. As described in the recipe link above: “Pinkel is an East Frisian term that might come from their word for the little finger or from the word for dripping, as in the fat dripping from the sausage. The pinkel sausage traditionally contained brain (not any longer), oats, bacon, and pork, and is flavored with allspice, cloves, pepper and maybe marjoram.”

Well, I hope Feddern’s sausages don’t include brains. If they do, I don’t want to know.

The best part about this recipe is that it tastes even better the next day. It’s also full of vitamins – your body will thank you for eating it.


  • 1kg kale, cleaned and chopped, or 12 ounces frozen kale, chopped (If using fresh kale, be sure to look for caterpillars 😲)
  • 2 pieces bacon, chopped, or 150 grams German Bauchspeck, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional
  • 6 sausages, such as Bratwurst, Kohlwurst or other smoked sausages
  • 400g chicken stock
  • Optional: 1 thick slice ham or Kasseler Kotelett (smoked pork chop)
  • Boiled potatoes


  1. Clean the kale. Remove the thick middle stem and chop the leaves. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the kale for 1 minute, then drain. You may also use frozen kale, thawed and drained. (In Germany you can also buy kale in a jar).
  2. In a frying pan, brown the bacon. Sauté the onion in the pan with the bacon and its grease and add the kale. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the stock and water to cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard and stir. Place the sausages and optional ham on top of the kale and simmer for another 30 minutes. Pepper to taste. Salt only after tasting as the meat is salty.
  4. Serve with boiled potatoes (or halved potatoes browned in butter and sugar) and add more mustard if desired.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s