I know, I know…What the hell is Dutch food?
Odds are, you will probably never hear, “I’m craving DUTCH food SO BAD right now…” on this side of the Atlantic.
Truth is, not a lot of Netherlanders actually live in Montreal today, compared to immigrants of other European countries. And those who do (under 15,000 people) have integrated themselves so well that they have kept their traditions mostly for special occasions.
According to Joanna H. Lowenstein, author of A Social History of the Dutch in Quebec, after World War II, when Canada was experiencing a huge wave of immigrants, the Dutch population mostly went to Ontario or to other provinces. Some did stay in Quebec, and especially in the Montreal area, but most of them “integrated quickly and many faded away into the general population.”
However, this does not mean that Dutch traditions are forgotten. Most Netherlanders simply keep their ways and pass them on in the privacy of their own homes, never trying to push them onto others.
But enough about history. The dish I am presenting today is a traditional Dutch Stamppot. This is a hearty winter dish, for those snowy days, spent ice-skating on the Amsterdam canals while singing Christmas carols in unison.
OK… For us, it’s more like those “finish class at Loyola at 8 p.m., slip on an ice patch while running after the shuttle, have an unpleasant ride in a crowded metro and finally get home at 11 p.m., all this during a snowstorm” days. Nevertheless, this recipe is cheap, easy to do, and feels good after a long day.
“In the winter in Holland, every family eats it at least once a week. It is usually served in the big pot on the table, with a big smoked sausage on top”, said Gauke de Jonge, representative of Nederlanders in Montreal (and true expat; he has been in Montreal since 1965). Stamppot is very versatile. You can switch endives for spinach, kale, carrots, replace the sausage with meatballs, use sweet potatoes, add bacon, wherever your taste or budget takes you.
– 2 large potatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cut into chunks
– 1 head of endives, cut into small pieces
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons of butter
– 1 cup of warm milk
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– 1 large Dutch smoked sausage (Rookworst)
1. In a large pot, boil the potatoes until they easily break apart (around 20 minutes)
Meanwhile, to steam your sausage, place it in your steam machine or on a colander that fits into a pot lightly filled with boiling water. Cover for about 15 minutes.
2.In a smaller saucepan, stir-fry your onions and garlic in the butter until they turn light brown.
3.When the potatoes are ready, mash them with a fork and add the milk to make the mash smooth.
4. Add the raw endives, fried onions and garlic to the potato mix and stir. Use salt and pepper to taste.
5. Place the smoked sausage on top, and voila!