The Dutch have been cooking kale long before it was the sexy, super food it’s become today. Actually, in my case, I spent my youth avoiding eating it. I hated boerenkool. In my defense, kale can be a bitter green. I’ve never made it is so when I heard that Dad was making boerenkool this weekend, I asked if I could learn how to make it.
Boerenkool is the Dutch word for kale, but in my experience it is often used for this combination of potatoes and kale. You could call it a boerenkool stamppot. A stamppot is word term for mashing any other vegetable with potatoes. My favorite is hutspot with potatoes and carrots, but you can also try turnips or parsnips.
I am generally alone in my less favorable review—although I will eat it now—boerenkool (literally farmer’s cabbage) is a favorite for many Dutch people around here. It’s not a classy dish, but a farmer’s meal. It’s simple, hearty, and healthy (unless you follow my dad’s instructions to add all the bacon grease). It’s seems that many Dutch immigrants who came Canada were farmers from Northern Holland looking for more opportunity here. Boerenkool is more popular here than it is in Holland now.
Like Dad’s other cooking, it’s quite free form, so feel free to play with the amounts and the method. The times are very general and when I asked dad how long to cook it, he said, “I have no idea. Don’t ask me that question!” He did say that you should cook it until the potatoes are done. There’s almost no need for a recipe. Some people will simply make it with kale, potatoes, and sausage, but my Dad adds butter, milk or sour cream and bacon. After all, bacon makes everything taste better.
2.5 lbs potatoes
3-4 cups fresh, frozen, or canned kale
If you grow your own kale like my Dad does, he recommends freezing it in bag without cooking or blanching it.
½ package bacon
1 Dutch sausage such as old fashion rookwurst
¼ cup butter
1 cup sour cream if you are eating the dish right away OR milk if you are making it ahead of time
Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and cut up the potatoes.
- Boil in a large pot until about ¾ done cooking.
- Add finely chopped kale to the top of the pot and continue cooking.
- Shortly before potatoes and kale are done cooking, lay the sausage on top of the pot to heat through.
- While this is cooking, cut up the bacon into bite sized pieces and fry until just getting crispy.
- When the potatoes and kale are done, set aside the heat sausage and drain the water from the pan.
- Mash the potatoes and kale, adding butter and sour cream/milk until it reached the texture you like. Adjust amounts of butter and sour cream/milk to your preference.
- Mix in the bacon. My Dad recommends adding in some, but not all of the bacon grease for a little extra flavour.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with cut up sausage.