If you are not new to my blog then you know I tend to write about the places we visit and things we do, but today I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I cook. I’m a huge fan of cooking and have a huge interest in a variety of kitchens – I love Italian, Mexican but I’m particularly fond of Asian cooking. I especially love Korean, Thai and Vietnamese dishes and just recently enjoyed a delicious home-cooked Indonesian meal including Rendang, Kip sate and Nasi. So my next experiment meal is going to be a variation of those dishes and maybe an additional one so I’m busy gathering recipes. Not surprisingly I already have a lot of the ingredients here in the house from making homemade Sambal trassi. I will of course share those recipes and the outcome of my mini Indonesian meal.
But for this post which is about tonight’s dinner, I thought why not try something typically DUTCH! Dutch cuisine you ask? I know – that you don’t hear a lot about. No one says I feel like grabbing some Dutch takeaway. Not to say it’s not “good” but let’s be honest – the Dutch are known for many things and it’s not their cuisine. When you think of “traditional Dutch food”, you probably think of Gouda cheese, stroopwaffels, pancakes/poffertjes and possibly even herring, but hands down the most traditional item is Stammpot. Ask a Dutchie the same thing – name a “traditional Dutch dish“, I am certain they’ll say Stamppot or Hutspot!
When I think back to my first time in the Netherlands in Aug 1999, I ate this dish. Perhaps it was the sausage or the way it was cooked – no idea but truthfully, I have to say I was not a fan. A bit like Bangers & Mash in the UK & Irish colcannon with sausages, here in the winter this is a staple meal in a lot of households in the Netherlands — just not the case here. I think the last time I made it was probably 5 years ago in Ireland! Clearly, I’m not yet “ingeburgerd” but trying :). It was brought up this weekend in a conversation, so when I was planning out dinner, I thought I’d give it a try. The photos are not the best and most appealing looking images, but it actually came out pretty good and both kids liked it. A bit of the dinner conversation was about Dutch Hema on Youtube. I suspect they meant this one but will have to ask – as we didn’t look it up.
WHAT IS STAMPPOT?
Stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish made from a combination of potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables with a sausage on top. These vegetable pairings traditionally include kale, sauerkraut, endive, spinach, turnip greens, or carrot & onion. (The combination of the latter two is known as hutspot. It’s the ultimate “comfort food”. Perfect for a cold, dark & wet evenings.
There is a variety of stamppot recipes in the Netherlands – and of course that is where personal taste preferences really comes into play but below are some of the most popular versions.
- Boerenkoolstamppot (kale stamppot) – this is the one I made tonight and (I think) most popular!
- Zuurkoolstamppot (sauerkraut stamppot)
- Hutspot (onion and carrot stamppot)
- Rauwe Andijviestamppot (raw endive stamppot)
- Preistamppot (leek stamppot)
HISTORY BEHIND IT?
Exactly how the very first stamppot recipe originated is not completely clear, yet historians do know that many dishes were prepared in a large pot during the Middle Ages. According to legend, the recipe came from the cooked potato bits left behind by hastily departing Spanish soldiers during their Siege of Leiden in 1574 during the Eighty Years’ War, when the liberators breached the dikes of the lower lying polders surrounding the city. To this day the Dutch city still celebrates the Liberation of Leiden on 3rd October with a traditional Dutch hutspot.
WHICH TYPE OF ROOKWORST?
Now that you know you basically boil potatoes and veg and combine them you now have to figure out which type of “rookworst” to buy. As I stood in the section of my local Albert Heijn I really didn’t know which to choose, so I picked one from Unox brand. There were a LOT of choices including a vegetarian one. Wonder if you can get turkey worst or chicken worst? I’ve had Dutch friends recommend that I try the worst at the HEMA. But as I said before, I never make this meal so I don’t know a good worst from the bad one – so I just bought the one that was not the cheapest and not the most expensive. Coming from the States, the best way to explain it (and you’ll see in the photo) is that it is most similar to a Polish Kielbasa – you simply pan fry it or boil it slightly to warm it up. If there is a next time, I’ll try the recommended HEMA worst!
I believe that most Dutch cook it all together in one pot, which makes the whole process much quicker and simpler, but I think the kale is a bit more ‘al dente’. I personally cook the kale separately until it’s softer, then I add it into the smashed potatoes.
THIS IS HOW I MAKE “MY VERSION” OF DUTCH BOERENKOOLSTAMPPOT MET WORST.
- Peel and chop potatoes (and any veg you are putting in). I just started paying attention to the type of potatoes and now specifically for stamppot – there is a difference in how they cook – some are more starchy others more waxy. Of course this makes total sense but I don’t use a lot of potatoes in my cooking, so that is quite new to me. As for the kale, you can also chop it yourself but they have handy already washed & chopped kale in bags for around €1, so I just buy it like that. Extras can be used in smoothies and omelettes.
- Place all the vegetables in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the worst until nicely browned on both sides and heated through. I’ve read you can gently boil the worst or just heat it up – I prefer mine cut and grilled.
- Fry one half of onion and two cloves of garlic until brown.
- Drain the vegetables well, add a little butter then mash but don’t purée. You want to be a bit chunky. Season the stamppot with nutmeg, salt, and pepper and mix in cooked onion and garlic.
- Make a jus – (that’s simply a gravy for those who don’t know. Not sure if this is the traditional way but I like it this way…
- Serve with worst arranged on top of a giant pile of mashed potatoes and some mustard on the side. Of course, one of my kids asked for mayonnaise on the side! 🙂
I’ve read that some add fruit like pears on top!!! I have NO IDEA why you’d do that… I don’t think it would taste good – correct me if I’m wrong.
Eet Smakelijk! Which means – enjoy your meal!
Another typical Dutch dish is Erwtensoep aka Snert – which is Pea Soup. I also make it a bit different than the Dutch way but next time I make it, I’ll post here. Oh and almost forget – hachee – which is something I learned last year and will make this year – Soren LOVES it!
Tell me have you tried Dutch Stamppot? Sound appealing? Do you make it a different way? You don’t have to limit yourself to the ways above – take mine or another from the internet and tweak it! I know someone who adds crispy spek (tiny bacon pieces into their mashed potatoes.
*Photo credit: lekkerensimpel.com