The Irish and the Scandinavians seem to run laps around us when it comes to manipulating potatoes.
In the Netherlands, they have a traditional dish called Stamppot, which has many different variations depending upon where you live. Stamppot translates to “mash pot,” and every Nordic country has one. Hutspot is a type of stampot that has carrots and onions in it, Andijvie is a stamppot made with endive, and the traditional Dutch kale stamppot is called boerenkool, and it is a bit like kale hash.
I understand that many people don’t like kale, either because they aren’t fond of the taste, texture or both. However, kale is one of the heartiest greens out there, and it is one of the few that likes cold weather. So if you were to try kale early in the growing season, it’s young and sweet, though through the summer it tends to get a little bitter. But if you wait until after the first freeze to use it, the roots push the sugars out to the leaves, and you again get the sweetness.
Because of this sturdy constitution, historically it was widely available to Dutch farmers in the months when there wasn’t much more than a root vegetable to be had, and so they utilized the green to make this hearty winter dish.
Following is a classic Dutch boerenkool stamppot, and the measurements are not specific. You may add a little more or less according to your liking.
1 lb + of chopped kale
2 lbs + potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
3 ½ T of lard or butter
1 good smoked pork sausage in a U shape
2 onions, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
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1 C of bacon, sliced into cubes or slices thicker
1 ¼ C meat stock
black pepper, salt, nutmeg
3 onions chopped
1 ¼ C beef stock
Salt, pepper, cumin
4 or 5 T butter
2 soup-spoons flour
Boil the potatoes in a large pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large frying pan and add the chopped onions. Cook for a few minutes until they are just beginning to brown and add the bacon pieces until they are cooked through. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about a minute. Add the kale, then season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Give it a good stir to incorporate the flavors.
In another large frying pan, brown the onions in butter, and then add two soup-sized spoons of flour to the onions, mix it in over medium to high heat, and cook for a few minutes until browned. Add the broth and stir in, continuing to cook over medium heat. While the sauce is cooking, drain the boiled potatoes well, add cooked kale mixture to the potatoes and stamp them down with a potato masher. Do not mash them as much as you would mashed potatoes, because you want them a little rough.
Serve with kale potato mixture on the bottom of your plate and spoon the sauce over the top, including a couple pieces of sausage.
Recipe by Mirka van Gils