It is time to follow my Dutch ancestors into the kitchen and make some Hutspot.
See the history of this charming house in Newcastle Delaware here. While it has undergone many “updates” during its long history, the kitchen was restored with loving care to its early roots.
As I browse the Internet looking for some typical Dutch food, I am reminded of the close connection between Holland and Indonesia. Those sturdy Dutch burghers had some decidedly spicy foods in their repertoire. But the Dutch American pioneers who settled Nieuw Amsterdam–some at the same time that my Puritan ancestors were populating New England–were up against the same constraints that the Puritans were when it came to exotic ingredients. So they probably stuck with mixing smashed vegetables with some cured meat.
Interestingly, one of the most popular group of dishes in the Netherlands today would not have existed in Europe prior to the settling of the Americas. Potatoes made the trip from America to Europe in the 17th century, and the Dutch threw them into the pot to make a hearty supper that they had previously made with parsnips.
The one-dish meals, known as Stamppot, get their protein from cooking meat to make a broth, then cooking the vegetables (always including potatoes) in the broth. What makes it different than English stew is the fact that the vegetables are smashed–not left whole, and not finely mashed. The sliced meat is served on top or alongside the Stamppot.
According to Wikipedia (and numerous other sites), there is a legend that comes with the dish.
So the Spanish soldiers fled, leaving a pot of parsnip (or potatoes) and carrots behind. The Dutch invaders unsheathed their forks and ate the “spoils of war”. The legend includes a holiday on October 3, when the victory over the Spanish is celebrated by eating a lot of hutspot.
The Dutch word Hutspot (shaken pot) becomes Hotchpot in English, which leads to the word hodgepodge–an indiscriminate mixture of unrelated things.
Hutspot is just one of an array of similar dishes that collectively are called Stampot–cooked potatoes smashed up with some other vegetables.
- Hutspot: Potatoes and carrots and onions (with beef).
- Boerenkool: potatoes and kale (with sausage).
- Hete Bliksam: potatoes and apples (with salt pork).
- Zoorkoolstamppot: potatoes and sauerkraut (with smoked sausage or bacon).
- Andijviestampot: potatoes and endive (with bacon).
And on and on.
When I cooked Hutspot, I deviated from the traditional by leaving out the beef. Instead I served chicken with a Gouda cheese sauce, which allowed for dribbling some cheesy sauce over the Hutspot. Yum.
Do you want to learn more about Dutch cooking? I can see that as I investigate the lives of my Dutch ancestors, I will be returning frequently to a website called The Dutch Table.
This post is dedicated to my grandfather “Daddy Guy” (to the far left in the picture at the head of this page) and his mother, the all-Dutch Mary Brink Anderson.