Is there a particular dish or food you grew up eating that you always loved? Do you eat it now, and it brings back memories? Maybe it was a special cake that you got on your birthdays, or a dish that your grandma made for just the holidays. No matter what it is, you love it, and the feelings of nostalgia and joy it gives you. This is one of reasons why I decided to go into the culinary field, because food is powerful. Food can connect you to your memories, your heritage, other people and their cultures, and the earth itself. I believe that there are two universal languages, and those are food and music. I believe in the power of serving good food with meaning, and intention.
I am going to share a dish with you all today that maybe some of you know, and maybe some of you don’t! This dish is called boerenkool (Say: boor-ren-col). It is a traditional Dutch dish that I grew up eating, made by either my Mother or my Oma (Dutch for grandma). The title translates to “farmers cabbage” or kale, which is one of the main ingredients in this recipe. This dish is a type of stamppot, which means literally “stomped pot”. Stamppots consist of mashed potatoes with a raw or cooked vegetable mixed in, as well as a pan gravy. This particular stamppot is usually served with a smoked sausage on the side. Even now that I am grown and on my own, I make this dish when I just need some hearty, comforting Dutch food! While it my not be the healthiest, it does include kale, which is one of the most nutrient dense foods to exist!
This is my slightly altered version of my Omas famous Boerenkool dish. If you give it a shot, and prepare it for yourself, please share a picture, and what you think about it! And if you don’t, I hope you enjoy reading through the recipe and looking at the pictures.
3 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes
8 oz Bacon
1 large bunch Kale
1 large Yellow onion
1 link Kielbasa sausage
1/2 C Heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp Beef bouillon gravy paste
To Taste Salt and Cracked black pepper
- Gather all your ingredients. Wash the potatoes under cold water to remove dirt. Cut into 3rds or 4ths, and put into a large pot. Cover with cold water, and sprinkle about 2 teaspoons salt into the water. Boil potatoes until very soft, and skins begin to peel away from the flesh of the potato.
- Wash the kale, and remove the leaves from the tough stem. Tear the leaves with your hands into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- Drain the potatoes when they are soft, being sure to reserve 16 ounces of the potato cooking liquid. (While potatoes are cooking, proceed with the recipe)
- Cut bacon up into medium dice, and place into a medium sized saute pan. Cook bacon over a medium heat to render out the fat, and crisp up the meat. While it is cooking, peel the onion, cut into half lengthwise, then cut each half in half lengthwise again. Slice onion into 1/4 inch slices.
5. Once the bacon is crispy, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Put sliced onions into the bacon pan, and saute in the bacon fat until the onions are soft, and start to get golden brown on the edges.
6. Add the bouillon paste to the onions, and then add in 12 ounces of the potato cooking liquid. Mix the gravy well. Add the washed, torn kale into the pan with the gravy and onions, then cover with a lid. This allows the kale to steam, and it will reduce to half its volume.
7. In another pan, or on a griddle or grill, sear the kielbasa sausage until it has some good color, and is cooked all the way through. Remove from pan onto a cutting board, and cut into 6 even pieces. Set aside and keep warm.
8. Take the drained potatoes, and mash to a rustic consistency with a potato masher. Mix in the heavy cream. Add to the potatoes the reserved bacon, and the gravy/onion/ kale mixture. Mix thoroughly, and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
9. Place the sausage pieces on top of the stamppot, and serve!
This recipe, among others, is a treasure and a gift from my Oma and my Dutch culture. It is something that I will carry with me, and love for the rest of my life. Even though my family had been in America for many years now, and I am 3rd generation Dutch, I can still love and appreciate my family background because of the foods that my Oma and Opa taught my Mom, and me.
If you have the opportunity, or feel drawn to, try to thank someone today who has changed your life through food! And maybe today is a day that you cook a meal, and sit down with the people you love, and make more beautiful memories.
Thank you for reading! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, and week.
Side note: This recipe is also going to be featured on the Zazios website under “recipe of the month”, so be sure to look out for that as well!