This is the first meal I had with my in-laws. I met them over a long weekend, several years ago- my partner and I had been dating for a month, and his family came up for a visit. I remember being a little nervous when they’d decided to make it for dinner, since I had just met them (they were all so tall!) and I didn’t know what the dish was from the name. At the time I was worried that: 1) it would turn out to be something difficult to eat and I’d embarrass myself, like a toddler trying to navigate shellfish, or 2) it would be something complicated that I’d find out I was super allergic to and have a medical emergency in front of my boyfriend’s family that I’d just met.
That wasn’t the case, thankfully- it’s actually a super simple dish, and as approachable as my in-laws turned out to be. After some googling around, I found out that it loosely translates to “farmer’s cabbage hodgepodge”, which is a pretty great name in my opinion. My partner’s family originates from the Netherlands (though the only Dutch I’ve ever heard from him is a children’s song). This was my introduction to Dutch food, and a tasty one at that. I’m very grateful they didn’t start me off with salted liquorice, which came later.
The main components of boerenkool stamppot are sausage, mashed potatoes, and kale: all things I love. As far as I know it’s usually all boiled, but my partner and I have adjusted it throughout the years to suit the way we cook and what we’ve got in the kitchen. In lieu of a more traditional smoked sausage, we often use raw sausages if that’s what we’ve got on hand. We’ve added onion and garlic, which get sauteed with the sausage and kale, and spiced with whatever we’re in the mood for. It’s a really easy meal to throw together, and especially comforting when the weather turns cool.
- 1kg (2.5lb) russet potatoes
- 500g (about 1lb) sausages, either raw or smoked
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch (about 300g) kale, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp (30mL) neutral oil (sunflower, canola, etc.)
- 1/4 cup (56g) butter
- 1/4 cup (60g) milk
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut into equal-sized chunks, about 3cm in width. Cover with water and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer, continuing to cook until the potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot- mash them with the butter and milk. Season generously with salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme.
While the potatoes are simmering, slice the sausage into 1cm thick rounds.
Heat up a tablespoon of neutral oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced sausage rounds in a single layer and let sit undisturbed until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the rounds so the other side can brown for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the diced onions to the pan and reduce the heat to medium, stirring occasionally until the onions become translucent. Stir in the garlic and let cook for a minute or so, until fragrant. If the pan is full, remove the contents of the pan to a bowl and add the second tablespoon of neutral oil to the pan. Add the kale to the skillet and stir until just wilted, and season with salt and pepper. Stir together with the sausages, onion, and garlic.
Mix the sausage and kale mixture into the mashed potatoes, season to taste, and serve.
If the sausages are raw, make sure you’re using a sharp knife to slice them so they don’t just squish part. If that’s the case, cook the sausages whole about halfway to done, slice them, and return them to the pan.
If the sausages are already smoked you can remove them from the skillet after they’ve browned, before adding the onions, then add them back when everything gets mixed into the mashed potatoes.