In the northern part of Germany “Grünkohl mit Pinkel” is a traditional winter dish. It is basically a combination of kale (in German “Grünkohl”), oatmeal, onion and a smoked pork sausage made with oatmeal called “Pinkel”. You can find this dish at almost every winter festival like christmas markets, where it is prepared continuously in huge steaming pans. The main advantages of this dish are, that it is made completely from local produce, it is very simple to prepare, scales well and reheating is no problem either. It is also very stodgy and warms well on cold winter days. I thought that this traditional dish could be easily transformed into a more elaborate version by rethinking some of the main components and by restructuring the dish. Below you see my result.
Similarly to the green bean soup, this dish builds on the traditional combination of the three ingredients: beans, pears and bacon. Due to several modifications, my reinterpretation is pretty far away from the classical way of cooking everything layered in a single pot. Here each component received a unique role on the plate, and I also brought the fourth hidden component, the onions more into the foreground.
Pears, beans and bacon are a traditional German combination. This relationship might also originate from the simple fact, that the seasons of pears and beans overlap. Some additional fat or salty bacon only further improves a dish, so it can’t be a mistake to include it. Traditionally, the combination of these three ingredients is cooked layered in a single pot, but there are countless other ways to prepare and serve them too. In this recipe I combined the beans, pears and bacon in a simple and light soup. Although the soup can be cooked even simpler, I included some further steps to preserve the color and optimize the texture for a perfect green bean soup.
Erlangen, the city I live in, is quite unique due to its huge grassland right in the middle of the city. During spring and summer a herd of sheeps is grazing, some parcels are used for wheat or corn production and of course the wonderful grass is regularly collected as animal food for the winter. Every morning on my way to work I ride my bike through this peaceful nature. Right at the outskirts I pass a small lake with giant elderberry bushes. In spring they are almost completely white and full of elderflowers. Now, at the end of summer the bushes turn black from the bending branches of tons of ripe elderberries. Unfortunately most of them are pretty high up and unreachable even with a ladder – but I managed to collect some for a fresh and simple elderberry sauce.
Terrines are great if you plan something special for your guests but don’t want to spend the whole evening in the kitchen. They can be prepared one or two days before and when the guests arrive, the only thing you need to do is to cut off some slices and finish the other components of your dish. Another great advantage is that they are very versatile. So if there are some leftovers from last nights dinner, you can still use them in combination with other ingredients. Usually terrines are used only as main elements in cold appetizers. This recipe is a nice example for using terrines as accompaniments in warm dishes served as a main course.
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