Creamed kale


Creamed kale (långkål)

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 or good sausages. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for Swedish style creamed kale


• Steps 1 to 5 can be done up to 3 days in advance.
• 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.)


600 g (1¼ lb) kale leaves
1 tsp   salt
1 litre (4 cups) cooking liquid from ham, ham stock or water
50 g (¼ cup) butter
180 ml (¾ cup) whipping cream
    salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
¼ tsp   ground mace, optional
1 tbsp   caster (superfine) sugar, optional



1. Pick over the kale leaves to remove any coarse stems.

2. 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.)


3. Drain well in a large colander, pressing down well with a spoon to squeeze the water out of the kale leaves.

4. 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.

5. 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 clingfilm (food wrap) and store in a fridge.)

6. Roughly chop the kale.

7. Melt the butter in a pan, add the kale and lightly fry for a couple of minutes.


8. Add the cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

9. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Add ground mace and sugar if desired.

10. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

11. Eat the långkål while piping hot.


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