Bangers 'n Mash - Dutch Style (Boerenkool Stamppot)

You can't get much more Dutch than 'stamppot'. Based on the most important of national staples, the potato, the stamppot has earned itself a place in history, and a firm place in the hearths and homes of most Nederlanders. There are few meals better suited for dreary winter weather. Say it the way it sounds, as stamped pot, and you should get the idea - the stamppot is basically a large pot of potatoes and some kind of vegetable, stamped to a multi-coloured mash. Favourites at our house were cabbage-based - andijvie, boerenkool, or sauerkraut, although we've made them with beetroot too on occassion. They were alright, but I was never too excited. They were always the same. Because we lived abroad as I grew up, I never got to try them at other people's houses - this was just not something the non-Dutch seemed to cook. 

But then, one night a few years back, I found myself in Heemstede with two of my guy friends from college. We met for a night of Settlers of Catan, and I'd crossed through a forest to get to the house. It was dark, cold, and windy. JW was waiting for us with stamppot. Although it may be the commonest of things for those who grew up here, traditions diverge, and I had missed out. JW's stamppot was amazing and interesting in ways that I hadn't thought possible, and it deserves a share. 

Ingredients (serves 2): 
600g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
300g boerenkool, chopped (boerenkool is a typical Dutch farmer's cabbage - it translates to kale - but you can substitute other kinds of leafy green cabbages, or even spinach)
3 tbsp butter
75ml milk
3 red onions, chopped
1 heaped tbsp grainy mustard
1 large sausage (Unox Gelderse rookworst, 375g)
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and black pepper

1. Place the potatoes in a large pan, with the boerenkool on top. Add hot water (I poured it straight from my water boiler) and bring back to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes. 

2. Place the sausage on top of the cabbage and cover with a lid for 20 more minutes.

3. Heat a dash of olive oil in a skillet and add the onions. Sautée for 2 minutes, then add a few good dashes of balsamic vinegar. Sautéé the onions a few more minutes until glazed, but not completely soft (that way they keep a bit of crunch, which is nice). Top with a dash of balsamic vinegar. 

4. Take the potatoes and cabbage off the heat and drain the liquid. Mash together using a fork or masher. Turn the fire back on while you add the milk and butter and mash until there are no big chunks of potato left and you have a nice creamy mash. Take off the heat. Stir in the mustard and another dash of balsamic vinegar. Add salt add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top with the glazed onions and serve. 


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