Stamppot

Stamppot I’m going to say something deeply unfashionable in foodie circles: I like Dutch cuisine. I like hearty soups and stews and mountains of cabbage anyway. I’m very Northern European in my tastes and I like small deep fried things, thus I enjoyed the hell out of the food when I visited Holland.

Dutch food gets a bad rap and I’m sure a lot of that comes from the fact tastes have changed and this kind of solid, simply flavoured food doesn’t translate well when cooked in bulk or done cheaply like in ready meals. But frankly, I think it’s pretty outrageous of the Irish or British to criticise other countries’ food as being bland or boring. It misses the point, creates a kind of food snobbery and ignores the seismic effect World War II had on Northern European food and the attempts to regroup from that.

So when I found myself with an accidental over abundance of gravy earlier this week after pot roasting a chicken in the slow cooker and Googled what to do with it (you may not want to do this if anyone else will see your search history) and the Dutch dish stamppot came up, I was thrilled. It was like I’d discovered turbo charged champ.

Cabbage or kale is stirred through mashed potato along with bacon or smoked sausage (traditionally Dutch rookworst) and then served with a hollow of piping hot gravy you dip each mouthful into before eating. It’s perfect for leftovers, utterly delicious and incredibly warming now the weather appears to be turning slightly.

Stamppot (serves 2)

  • 600g potatoes
  • knob of butter
  • 60ml milk, warmed
  • 200g kale or cabbage or rainbow chard
  • 150g lardons or chunks of bacon
  • 100ml gravy

This is a dish that works best with leftovers for me, as a take on bubble and squeak, but if you are making it from scratch it’s very easy.

Peel and cube the potatoes. Cover with cold water and a little bit of salt and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Don’t let them become musy and water-logged. Drain well and then return to the pan where you should put them over enough heat to dry them out slightly as this gives lighter mash.

While the potatoes are cooking, cube the bacon. I like good chunks cut from my homemade version but go with what you like. Chorizo doesn’t work here. The southern European flavour clashes with the Northern ones. You could use cubed smoked sausage or crumbled black pudding though. Cook the bacon until just crisping round the edges.

If I’m using homemade bacon with it’s silky piggy fat, I put the finely shredded greens into the pan of bacon cubes to wilt. If not, steam for about 2 minutes (I do all my steaming of veg in the microwave and it’s fabulously fast and easy.)

Pass the potatoes through a ricer if you have one or simply mash. Beat the butter in and add the warmed milk and whisk with a spoon or spatula until they are creamy and smooth. Add in the bacon and greens and mix well.

I’ve used leftover gravy but you could make the onion one I’ve linked to for extra flavour. The one I made was simply 500ml of the cooking liquid from a slow cooked chook, a heaped dessertspoon of cornflour in enough water to dissolve, a dash of Lea and Perrins and a bit of gravy browning. Cook until thickened and piping hot.

Put the mash potato in separate bowls, making a hollow with the back of a spoon. Pour the gravy in this hollow and serve, dipping each mouthful and making sure it doesn’t spill down the sides. Warm your cockles with second helpings and enjoy!

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16 replies
  1. Stephanie (foggyknitter)
    Stephanie (foggyknitter) says:

    Yum! I’ll be trying that! And I think there’s a tremendous richness of English food and cookery that got lost somewhere, reading a book like Dorothy Hartley’s “Food in England” (more properly called a tome!) shows that we have a rich and fascinating history of food and recipes, with an astonishing amount of borrowing from other nations from a very early date. Elizabeth David’s “Salt, spice and aromatics in the English kitchen” shows how flavourful pre-20th century English cookery could be. I’m getting quite into old cookbooks these days so could bore on for hours.

    Anyhow this is just the sort of dish I love, so thank you! The furthest I’ve ever got into Dutch cuisine is stroopwafel mmmmmm

  2. Diane-crewe
    Diane-crewe says:

    Im with you x I LOVE this kind of comfort food .. esp with the weather turning nasty x I too am a northern “girl” .. I was brought up on this type of food .. so too have my kids .. and grandchildren…. and we are all going strong xx

  3. Pratsina Glitsa
    Pratsina Glitsa says:

    So what I,my parents and grandparents and those before them in Scotland have always eaten has a name other than tatties an’ gravy ( with variations on the ingredients to suit availability).
    Only the organised Dutch would have to give it a name

  4. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Stephanie: ‘bore’ away! We’re both really interested in the development of the food we eat in the British Isles and English food esp as we didn’t grow up with it. Plus I won’t here a bad thing about the humble spud or the glorious cabbage…

    Diane: here’s a nother cheer for cosy comfort food! Can’t be bate with a big stick!

    Pratsina: oh this comment made me laugh. I have to say I’d never thought to put gravy with this kind of tatties and cabbage. I am slow on the uptake!

  5. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Alicia: yup, definitely a cousin of champ or colcannon. But well done the Dutch for putting bacon and gravy with that great base of greens and spuds. I’m so Protestant in my tastes, it had never occurred to me…

  6. Mrs Nordy
    Mrs Nordy says:

    My daughter is just back from living in Utrecht for six months and delighted to see this recipe. It brought back many happy memories for her.
    Keep up the good work. Really enjoy your style of writing and the variety of your food 🙂
    Mrs Nordy
    PS still enjoying your potato salad recipe, a staple in this family!

  7. Dave
    Dave says:

    Personally I fail to see how anyone couldn’t love potatoes, greens and gravy in pretty much any format. If I had any leftovers from this (which would probably be leftovers in the first place) I’d fry it and have it with more gravy. Or with beans for breakfast.

  8. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Mrs Nordy: so pleased you love the potato salad as much we do in our family. Hearing things like that is my favourite part of food blogging. And would love to go to Utrecht!

    Foodhuntr: thank you

    Dave: I’m torn between making some mash immediately and asking you if you’re married. FRIED potato, greens and gravy is way more appealing than that other Dutch speciality of diamonds to me….

  9. Chloe
    Chloe says:

    Drooling sat here in a chilly office, and dreaming of the Kale in the fridge. I’m a great lover of German food and also of cabbage, can’t wait to give this a go.

  10. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Chloe: I need to look up more about German food. I am feeling that it’s going to please me immensely. Especially if it involves kale.

    Becs: ha, I’m a spiritual Northerner. Just need to get more into my dried peas to make sure I’m not losing my touch.

  11. Kavey
    Kavey says:

    I didn’t know Dutch food was considered deeply unfashionable… is it? I have always rather enjoyed it. There’s definitely a place in my belly for comfort food, Dutch style!

  12. Stuart gardner
    Stuart gardner says:

    Hi hope you are well, good to see your writing in the Guardian…. hope the book is coming on well. I had a Dutch friend who used to make fresh apple sauce to seve with this, that is 2 apples chopped up, some sugar and a little ground cinnamon…. lovely on the side…. just simmer perhaps with spoon of water until soft amd mushy…. she was a Veggie and was good with veggie sausages….. but also good with bacon or sausage. If you live near an allotment this time of year stick your head in am sure if they have apple trees you will come away with a bag at this time of year.
    Regards,
    Stuart

  13. Annabel Smyth
    Annabel Smyth says:

    This sounds delicious, and will probably be eaten very soon!

    By the way, I have taken to steaming my potatoes in the microwave – the resulting mash is much less watery than if you boil them. Or, indeed, in an ordinary steamer – the only vegetables I ever boil now are swede (sometimes with carrots, parsnips and other roots), Brussels sprouts and green beans! Everything else gets steamed.

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