2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 19:14 Page 19
Discover Benelux | Food Feature | Hotchpotch
think the best hotchpotch consists of a few good, basic ingredients. Less is more in this case. Too many ingredients make it confusing.” Ysbrandy also has a fair warning about mashing the potatoes: “Do not use a mixer! It makes the potatoes gluey.” There is a great sense of nostalgia involved: everyone has a grandmother (or father) who could make the best hotchpotch in the world. Ysbrandy: “In my family it is the kale hotchpotch my granny Landje made. After a long day of skating on natural ice, the whole family would come together to eat her kale hotchpotch. I always want to emulate her recipe, but I have not succeeded yet. Of course, there is also a lot of atmosphere and feeling involved, the Dutch ‘gezelligheid’ (fun, cozy, pleasant), which certainly affects the taste.” Hotchpotch aficionado Werner Drent must be the world’s biggest fan of the Dutch hotchpotch. He won the World Hotchpotch Championships four times in a row, and recently wrote the children’s cookbook Het grote stamppot boek (the big hotchpotch book). “It is a great dish to teach children to eat their vegetables; mashing and mixing the food so that the vegetables no longer look like vegetables. And anything is possible with hotchpotch.” Drent loves the dish so much, he does rather special things with the leftovers. “I’m not much for wasting food, so out of the leftovers I create all kinds of other dishes. Bitterballen (a small, round, typical Dutch type of croquette) made out of hotchpotch or hollow a large carrot and fill it with hotchpotch.” Drent goes even further and creates millefeuilles out of it. This may all sound a bit strange to the non-Dutch among us, but once familiar with the hotchpotch, it will all make perfect sense.
The potato comes to the Netherlands The potato arrived in Europe from South America via Spanish explorers (probably in 1536 by Diego de Malya). By that time the Incas had already cultivated the plant for hundreds of years. Monks were responsible for the spread of the potato from Spain to other European countries. They planted the potatoes in their monastery gardens. At first, farmers wanted nothing to do with the foreign plant. The stems and berries are poisonous, and they thought the tubers would be unhealthy. Gradually, the potato became more popular, and by the 17th century, it was grown in all European countries. In the Netherlands it would take until 1727 before the potato was officially recognised as food (Friesland was first). Ever since, it’s become one of the main Dutch staples, found on most kitchen tables boiled, baked or, of course, mashed.
‘Oma Landje’s Boerenkool’ (Granny Landje’s kale hotchpotch) Recipe by Sandra Ysbrandy for 4 persons 500 g curly kale, washed 1 kg crumbly potatoes, peeled knob of butter 1.5 dl milk 0.5 dl vinegar salt and pepper Pan fried lardons Cut the kale in very small pieces using a kitchen appliance and cook it in an inch of salted water for 30 minutes. In the meantime, boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender. When ready, drain both and let them steam off. Add a knob of butter to the potatoes and mash. Add hot milk to create a creamy mixture and then add the drained kale. Season with the vinegar, salt and pepper and mix in the fried lardons. Serve kale hotchpotch with gravy, smoked sausage, Amsterdam (pickled) onions, pickles and mustard.
Issue 14 | February 2015 | 19
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