HANSA-FLEX Cook book

Typically German!

Curly kale

One of the traditional Bremen dishes, although only available seasonally, is kale or, as many in Bremen say, "Braunkohl" (brown cabbage).

There are innumerable forms of preparation, but they all depend on the consistency of the cabbage and its fat content. The special thing about this dish is that it is rare and is only available between December and the beginning of March. This is because until 12 years ago, kale could only develop its special flavour once "frost" had passed over the fresh plant in the field. This is when the bitter substances that give the vegetable its special flavour are released. Today, mainly cabbage varieties are used which have the right taste even without frost and therefore kale could actually be available all year round – but at least in restaurants this is not the case.


The tradition around curly kale is also special – the curly kale tours. Colleagues, friends or relatives get together for a long walk and play games, such as throwing tea bags (...). It's not about winning, but rather about entertainment and the fact that the loser has to or is allowed to drink a schnapps. When the loser arrives at the restaurant, the curly kale is served and then celebrated with music and even more schnapps.


Often the curly kale is served as a menu – with a wedding soup (clear meat broth with garnish) as a starter and red fruit jelly as dessert.


Heat goose fat in a large pot and sauté the finely diced onions in it. Add the frozen curly kale and add the stock. Close the pot and defrost the curly kale at low heat in about ½ hour. Remove the skin from 2-3 piddling sausages, chop the sausages and stir into the cabbage. Add bacon and 2-3 poked mead ends. Close the pot and continue to cook over a low heat for two hours. Cook the smoked pork chops with the piddling sausages separately. After two hours, remove the bacon and the smoked mead ends from the curly kale and set aside.


Season to taste: Salt, pepper, stir the mustard and possibly a crumbled stock cube into the curly kale and thicken the kale with oat flakes so that the consistency fits. Serve with a small mead sausage, a piddling sausage and a portion of curly kale. Serve with boiled or fried potatoes.


Bon appetite!


Ingredients for 4 people

Quantity Ingredient
1.2 kg curly kale, deep-frozen (or from the jar)
2 pcs. onions
25 g lard (goose lard)
500 ml meat broth, double concentrated
1 tablespoon mustard, medium hot
8 pcs. Pinkel sausages (piddling sausages *)
250 g smoked, striped bacon
8 pcs. sausages (smoked mead ends)
8 pcs. smoked pork chops
2-3 tablespoons oat flakes
  salt and pepper, from the mill
as required stock cubes

* There is also a smoked version of the Pinkel, which some people prefer. When cooked with curly kale, it has a slightly more intense taste.