The weather, besides being a traditional topic of discussion for the Dutch, also seems to trigger certain food choices. As soon as there is a frosty chill in the air, the Netherlanders appear to have a sudden increased appetite for cruciferous vegetables, particularly Brussels sprouts and kale, known in Dutch as boerenkool.
The country has a very solid and versatile repertoire of winter dishes. Although there may be regional variations, the main dishes are solid in the sense that many consist of the culinary trinity (meat, vegetables and potatoes) and versatile because well....because there is scarcely a thing the Dutch don't add to their famous "stamppot". Literally meaning ‘stomped pot’, stamppot is a dish that consists of boiled potatoes mashed with a raw or cooked vegetable: raw spinach, turnip greens or, in this case kale. When carrots and onions are used instead, the dish is called hutspot.
Boerenkool (stamppot) is possibly the country’s favorite stamppot, often served with smoked sausage on the side. Besides being a traditional winter dish, boerenkool is also quickly becoming the dinner of choice for New Year’s Eve. Not surprising if one surveys the rest of the traditional items for that festive night: sugary oliebollen and appelbeignets!
- 500 grams (1.1 lb) kale
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) potatoes
- 25 grams (9 oz) unsalted butter
- 50ml (1.7 fl oz) milk, warm
- 1 smoked sausage (275 grams, 9.7 oz)
- Pinch of salt
Wash the kale. Rip the leaves off the stems and slice the leaves into narrow strips. Peel the potatoes, quarter them and place them in a Dutch oven. Add water to barely cover the potatoes, add the kale on top. Place the smoked sausage on top of the kale. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Boil on a slow flame for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Remove the sausage, pour off any cooking liquid that may remain and mash the vegetables with a fork or a potato masher. Add the butter and the milk (or use some of the cooking liquid for a lighter option) and stir into the purée. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Slice the smoked sausage and serve with the stamppot. Serve with mustard if desired.