On the 3rd of October, the city of Leiden celebrates their victory in 1574 over the Spanish invaders. It's an annual gathering during which the Leiden citizens celebrate with large amounts of white bread and herring and even larger amounts of something called hutspot, a colorful mashed potato dish. It's no longer just eaten on the 3rd of October, but is an extremely popular evening meal during the cold winter days.
Hutspot is traditionally served with klapstuk, a piece of braised beef, but sometimes will also be eaten with a typical Dutch meatball. The best carrots to use for this dish are winterpenen, winter carrots such as the Flakkee or Autumn King, a larger and thicker variety of the orange carrot that is harvested shortly after the first frost. The sugars in the carrot add a hint of sweetness to this dish that will appeal to almost any eater, young or old.
The carrot appeared in Holland for the first time in the 17th century, out of Iran, and was cross-pollinated until it had a bright orange color, to honor the royal family, the Oranges.
Hutspot met klapstuk
- 500 gram (1.1 lb) beef chuck rib roast
- 400 ml (13.5 fl oz) water
- 1/2 beef bouillon cube
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 black pepper corns, whole
- 1 tablespoon flour, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 8 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 large onions, peeled and sliced
- Salt and pepper
Add the water to a Dutch oven or a braising pan, add the bouillon cube and stir until dissolved. Add the beef, the bay leaf and the pepper corns and braise on low heat for approximately 90 minutes or until beef is tender.
Remove the meat to a serving dish, discard the bay leaf and peppercorns and stir the dissolved flour into the pan juices. Stir scraping the bottom of the pan, loosening any meat particles that may be stuck. Bring the heat slowly up until the gravy starts to thicken. Pour the gravy over the meat and set aside, keeping it warm.
In the meantime, place the potatoes on the bottom of a pan, and add water so that the potatoes are just covered. Put the carrots on top, and finish with the onions. Add salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and boil for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Pour off the cooking water, but save it. Mash the potatoes, carrots and onions until you achieve a mashed potato consistency. If you need more liquid to make it smoother, add a tablespoon of cooking liquid at a time. Taste, adjust with salt and pepper.
Serve the hutspot family style on a large platter, slice the beef and serve with the gravy.