Boerenkool

This is Marie, contributing an article about Boerenkool, a staple of my childhood. It is essentially boiled kale mashed into potatoes and eaten with sausage and vinegar, and it is not especially well received in my household. All the more for me! Seriously. I make this stuff, portion it out, freeze it, and use it for lunches at work.

It’s a simple meal, and the literal translation is Farmer Kale. It’s from a tradition of Dutch meals made with the general theme of vegetables mashed into potatoes and eaten with sausage or bacon, and it is fairly popular in the Netherlands. That doesn’t necessarily mean much; the next most popular version involves carrots and either bacon or stew meat, instead of kale and sausage. Mind you, Dutch cooking has a reputation of being just a step or two above traditional English cooking. But then, comfort food is rarely haute cuisine, is it?

What I generally do is peel a 5-lb bag of potatoes and put them in a pot of water of the stove while going through the kale. They sell those in huge bags; I generally use about half. You need to go through the kale carefully to remove the hard stems, as those don’t mash well; just peel the leaves off and discard the stems. So here are the ingredients in standard measures:

5 lb starchy potatoes (I used russets)
About half of a 16-oz bag of washed, chopped kale
A 1-lb link of sausage (I use Hillshire Farms keilbasa, but I recommend trying it first with your favorite smoked sausage)
A cup or so of milk, depending on how moist you want your mashed potatoes to be
A few tablespoons of butter, to taste
A dash of mustard if you like, to taste, or alternately wait until serving and then put a few drops of vinegar on your portion.

Note: don’t use canned kale. It has the wrong taste and texture, and often has flavorings mixed in.

My mother and brother like a far higher kale-to-potato ratio than I do as well, so they have a much greener mashed potato. Fiddle away, and suit it to your preferences.

I hope you enjoy this, and that you can stand the odd sidelong looks in the lunch room at work from folks seeing you tucking into a pile of green potatoes!


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3 thoughts on “Boerenkool

    1. Sorry, Chip! That grocery store’s site evidently changed the rules between Marie writing the story several weeks ago and us publishing it today. She rewrote the recipe section above to better reflect what she actually does in our kitchen.

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