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Rina Miller shares her family kale recipe

Rina Miller as a child
Rina Miller as a child

As part of our Your Family Story series we’re collecting recipes that have been passed down within families. Send in your mothers, grandfathers, or cousins’ famous recipe for goulash, pozole, dumplings-what have you.

We’re collecting recipes from this very second until midnight February 29th. We’ll publish all the recipes. The winner will be announced here and on our partner websites. They’ll collect a grab bag of public radio goodies so get cookin'!

Michigan Radio's Rina Miller shares her recipe for kale, along with this story  about her family's Dutch roots.

My mother, father, three brothers and I emigrated from the Netherlands by ship in 1956. We settled in Albion, Mich.
We assimilated into American culture, but our roots were still there in the way we ate, celebrated holidays (very simply and frugally) and in our ongoing connection with the Netherlands.

A part of my heart will always live there.

Kale was a staple in our home long before it became popular in the U.S. It's a nutritious, hearty, inexpensive green vegetable.

In this recipe, it’s mashed with potatoes, onions and bacon and served with smoked sausage. It helped stretch the meal budget for Dutch families.

We kept that tradition, and it was always a treat when my mother made a great huge pot of it. I still love it today.

Below is a recipe (original here) that's very close to how Mom made it: 


3 lbs potatoes
1 lb kale
250g lardons (cubed thick bacon)
2 onions
1 bay leaf
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground pepper
1 lb smoked sausage
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs butter


1. Peel and dice potatoes and onions.
2. Clean, trim and slice kale.
3. Add the potatoes, a bay leaf, a pinch of salt and just enough water to cover all in a 3 quart pan.
4. Cover and boil gently for about 25 minutes.
5. Remove the bay leaf, drain the potatoes, and return to the pot with 1 1/2 cups of the reserved water.
6. Top with the kale and sausage (keep in the original vacuum-sealed package), cover and return to boil until the kale has been steamed until soft and turns a dark green color (5-7 mins).
7. Meanwhile brown the bacon and onions in a pan until just browned but not crisp.
8. Remove pot of vegetables from heat, remove sausage from pot, and add bacon mixture, milk, butter, add salt and pepper to taste and mash.
9. Slice smoked sausage and serve aside or on top of the mashed vegetables.

Want to enter our recipe contest? You can submit your recipe here, or email us at michigan.radio@umich.edu

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