I think one of the best ways to describe many of the "typically Dutch" meals would be as comfort food- a warm hearty dish to enjoy on a wet and cold grey day.
Stamppot is a pretty traditional Dutch dish made from boiled potatoes and vegetables. Boerenkool (curly kale) mashed with potatoes and a little bit of bacon is a common stamppot dish. You can also use zuurkool (sauerkraut), andijvie (endive), spinazie (spinach), and any other number of veggies. The version of stamppot that uses carrots and onions mashed with the potatoes is called hutspot.
It seems to me that every person has their own version of hutspot. People use different ratios of the vegetables to suit their own particular tastes. This is how I make it.
You will need:
500 g carrots, coarsely chopped
500 g onions, diced into big chunks
500 g potatoes, diced into big chunks
1 bullion cube (flavor of your choice- I usually use chicken)
instant mashed potatoes (optional- depends on what the consistency is)
brown gravy (from a mix or some that you've made yourself)
In a big pot, combine the carrots, onions and potatoes. Cover the veggies with water and drop in the bullion cube. On a high heat, bring the veggies to a boil. Turn the heat down a little so you don't boil over and let them cook until soft (20-30 minutes). If you have a pressure cooker, you can cut the cooking time to about 5 minutes after it reaches pressure. You want the vegetables to be soft, but not so cooked that they've turned to complete mush and slide through the strainer when you drain the water off. After they're soft you can drain them, but save a little bit of the water.
Using your handy dandy potato masher, mash the veggies together. It doesn't need to be totally smooth, so you don't need to whip out the immersion blender, but mash until everything is mixed together pretty well and you don't have great big chunks anymore.
Now, the consistency that you want is such that you can stick your spoon in the top and have it stick straight up without falling over. You want it a little stiffer than normal mashed potatoes, but no so stiff it will stick to the roof of your mouth and clog up your insides as it goes down. If it's too runny, you can add in (a little bit at a time) some instant mashed potatoes. If it's too thick, add in (a little bit at a time) some of the water you saved when you drained it off earlier.
The most important part (I'm told) of eating hutspot comes next. You need to dish it up onto a plate and make a huge crater in it with a ladle. Then carefully pour the gravy in the crater. I'm told by someone that looks and acts a lot like my husband that if you don't do this then it just won't taste the same. I take his word for it, who am I to mess with a PROVEN METHOD!
You can serve the hutspot along side a nice rookworst (smoked sausage) or another small piece of meat. I usually do rookworst since it's "tradition."
Every once in awhile I'll fry up a little bacon (not much, a slice or two) and crumble it in after I've mashed everything together. Many people use less onions and more potatoes, but I can remember the recipe easier if I just use equal amounts of everything!
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