600 g/ 1¼ lb) kale leaves
1 tsp Salt
1 litre/ 4 cups) cooking liquid from hamham stock or water
50 g/ ¼ cup Butter
180 ml/ ¾ cup whipping cream
salt and freshly ground white pepperto taste
¼ tsp Ground maceoptional
1 tbsp caster sugar superfineoptional
Långkål (creamed kale) is a much loved dish in Sweden that is served as an accompaniment to julskinka (Christmas ham). It is so important that no julbord (Christmas table) is complete without it. I think långkål is absolutely delicious and should not been confined to Christmas as it goes well with pork, smoked meat, and good sausages.
How to Make Långkål:
- Pick over the kale leaves to remove any coarse stems.
- Add the leaves to a large saucepan of boiling salted water and bring back to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. You may need to do this in two batches unless you have a very large saucepan.
- Drain well in a large colander, pressing down well with a spoon to squeeze the water out of the kale leaves.
- Return the kale to a saucepan and pour the cooking liquid from the ham over the kale so it is just covered.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Drain the kale again, squeezing out as much of the stock as possible. If preparing in advance, when the kale is cold, transfer it to a dish, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
- Roughly chop the kale.
- Melt the butter in a pan, add the kale, and lightly fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Add salt and white pepper to taste.
- Add ground mace and sugar if desired.
- Simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Eat the långkål while piping hot.
- Ideally långkål should be made using the cooking liquid from the ham, but it can be made using just water or ham stock made using a bouillon cube.
- Don’t be tempted to replace the cream with milk and flour as it really doesn’t taste as good, even if it might be a shade healthier.
- Some Swedes like to add a tablespoon or two of sugar and a touch of mace. After the kale has been simmering in the cream for about 5 minutes, have a taste and then add some sugar and mace if you think it would improve the dish. Personally, I prefer it without.