sure to hit the spot on dreary and cold winter evenings

True, Dutch cuisine doesn’t rank highly in the list of popular or well-known international fare. But being a nation with strong farming roots and a culture of “doing things economically and without waste”, it’s hardly surprising that its most traditional dishes are simple slumgullionsa stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc., known as “stamppot”. Essentially a mixture of mashed potatoes and veg, usually served with sausage, bacon or beef, it’s easy to make and sure to hit the spot on dreary and cold winter evenings when only true stodge seems to satisfy!

Below is a quick overview of some favourites …

Hutspot (carrots & onions)

Traditionally accompanied by brisket of beef (“klapstuk”), but you could use smoked pork sausage (“rookworst”). If using the brisket of beef, cover approx 150 gr in water (add a bit of salt) and cook for at least 1 hour. Then add approx 750 gr of peeled potatoes, 2 peeled & chopped carrots (the very large type – “winter carrots” are these are known in the Netherlands) and 1 large chopped onion to the pot. Add salt to taste and cook for a further half hour. When cooked, drain and remove the beef. Mash the potatoes and veg with some milk and butter. Serve with your meat of choice (for a quicker version, simply buy ready-to-eat smoked pork sausage and add this to the pot for the final 10mins to heat.

Zuurkoolstamppot (sauerkraut)

Peel and chop approx 1.5 kg of potatoes, place in pan and add approx 500gr sauerkraut on top, then add approx 100gr pork or thick cut bacon (optional) and cook for approx 45 mins (25mins if cooked without meat), then take meat out, drain and mash together with some milk and butter. Serve with the cooked pork/bacon or alternatively with pork sausage or mash with approx 250gr fried minced beef. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Boerenkoolstamppot (curly kale)

Curly kale is now available in UK supermarkets but alas, it doesn’t taste quite like the fresh stalks as sold in Dutch greengrocers and harvested after the first night frosts have hit the fields! Never found out for sure if the frost actually improves the flavour or simply assists in getting rid of the bugs and slugs that will have found a comfy home inside the curly leaves. So, if you manage to find fresh stalks, strip off the leaves and make sure to wash them well before you shred it as small as possible. Place approx 1kg of potato chunks in a pot with a bit of water, top with approx 1kg of kale, then top with a smoked sausage. Cook for approx 30mins, take the sausage out, mash the veg with a bit of milk and butter and serve with the sausage & mustard.

Andijviestamppot (endive)

Use approx 3 parts potatoes to 1 part endive (which is not cooked, simply wash and drain, then shred finely). Boil the potatoes and mash with milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Then mix with the endive and with approx 200 gr smoked lardons (fry separately beforehand). Sometimes also mixed with small cubes of cheese (again approx 200gr) – make sure not to melt the cheese completely whilst warming the dish through. I like this with a bit of mustard.