Fireplace Cuisine

I spent the whole day on the couch yesterday. Fireplace on, cozy blanket draped around me and a pile of unread magazines patiently waiting on my lap. I read, had some hot chocolate, took a nap, read some more and also called my mom for a nice chat. The house cleaning and laundry would just have to wait this time. I needed a break!

It really was the perfect day to stay indoors and as a matter of fact, I was feeling rather sorry for anyone who was forced to leave their house. The wind has howling furiously and by two o' clock I already had candles lit- that's how dark it was! This was definitely a day for 'stamppot'.

For those of you who don't live in The Netherlands or aren't Dutch, 'stamppot' is a classic Dutch winter dish which consists of potatoes mashed together with vegetables such as kale, endive, carrots and even sauerkraut. It is usually served with Dutch sausage (similar to Kielbasa) or a good Dutch 'gehaktbal' (meatball). It doesn't look pretty- trust me (actually it kind of looks like jail food) but don't judge a book by its cover! It is certainly one delicious and super comforting meal!

Here is one of my favorite stamppot recipes. Serve it on a day when like me, you've also spent the whole day on the couch feeling sorry for anyone outside. It's the kind of food that you want to eat in front of the fireplace. Perhaps accompanied by a glass of lightly chilled Beaujolais.

Here's the recipe:

Curly Kale Stamppot with Bacon, Red Onions and Sausage
Serves 4

1 kilo potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
250 curly kale, sliced in thin strips
1 liter water
1 Hema sausage (THE best, if you live in The Netherlands, or just use Kielbasa)
salt and pepper
250g bacon lardons
2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tsps mustard
200 ml milk

Place water in a large pan. Top with the potatoes, the kale and the sausage. Season with salt and pepper but go easy here as the sausage and the bacon are already salty!! No need to stir everything. Just leave it nicely layered.
In a separate pan, fry the bacon until crisp but not too crisp (no need to add oil to the pan). Drain the bacon leaving a film of fat in the pan. Add the chopped onions and a drop of olive oil to the pan if needed.
Saute the onions gently for about twenty minutes.
Drain the potatoes, kale and sausage after about 30 minutes. Set the sausage aside.
Add the milk, mustard, onions and bacon to the kale and the potatoes. Mash everything together, adding more milk if necessary.
Serve with the sausage and- ENJOY!!

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