This winter has gotten me hungry for travel, and I’m delighted to introduce this post, by Carly Diaz, which transports us to the kitchens of Amsterdam. It’s a recipe for a traditional mashed potato and kale dish called Stamppot that I know we should make one of our wintry edible traditions back home.
Stamppot is one of the most traditional dishes in the Netherlands, a straight-from-grandma’s-kitchen kind of meal. Hearty and simple, it can be bought ready-made from the ubiquitous Dutch grocery store chain Albert Heijn or easily made at home. Translated as “mash pot,” it is essentially mashed potatoes and vegetables with a sausage on the side, and the recipe can easily be customized to your preferences and the contents of your fridge.
This quintessential meal perfectly captures the Dutch spirit of pragmatism. Stamppot is a utilitarian dish through and through – meant to fill the belly using inexpensive ingredients that are readily available pretty much year round. You can easily picture a working-class Dutch family in a century past gathered around the table with steaming plates of Stamppot. The dish has staying power though and remains a favorite today.
Although I lived in Amsterdam for nearly seven years, I only had Stamppot a handful of times: at a kitschy Dutch-food restaurant, as a half-joke at a going-away party for a colleague (part-joke because there is nothing very festive about Stamppot and part-serious because it was actually his favorite food), and at home when I received a large bunch of endive in my weekly CSA with an accompanying Stamppot recipe. But once I moved back home to Portland, Oregon, making Stamppot kept me connected to the country I called home for so many years.
The best thing about traditional recipes is that they can be elevated with simple enhancements and taken to a new level. There are plenty of traditional Stamppot recipes floating around, but this version focuses on delicious potatoes and a topping of brown butter. All recipes start with potatoes and add in a variety of other vegetables (endives or curly kale, onion, carrots) and sometimes bits of ham into the mash. This recipe uses my husband’s approach to making mashed potatoes, which omits the standard milk and butter in favor of olive oil for a creamy result. Enhancing the potatoes gives the kale a sturdy platform for a delicious centerpiece, and topping the dish with brown butter adds a roasted, nutty flavor. Served with a smoked sausage or, my preference, a fried egg on the side, you eat the dish by mixing everything together, perhaps with a dollop of mustard for the sausage.
Text, recipe and photo by Carly Diaz.
- 6 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 3½ tablespoons salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- Rookworst (or Bologna/type of baloney) sausage (can be replaced with a fried egg)
- Dijon mustard (optional)
- Wash the potatoes and then cut into half-inch pieces, leaving the skin on. Place in a large pot with the salt and enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat when just tender enough to mash (be careful not to overcook) and drain thoroughly.
- While the potatoes are boiling, cut the kale leaves from the stem and roughly chop. When the potatoes are finished, mash thoroughly while adding in the olive oil. Stir in the kale, letting the heat wilt the leaves.
- To make the brown butter, add one stick of butter to a small saucepan on a low heat. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Remove the foam as the butter browns and keep the heat low enough to try and prevent bubbling. Once the butter has a roasted scent, with bits of brown sediment on the bottom, remove from the heat.
- Serve the Stamppot with a generous serving of brown butter on top and sliced Rookworst on the side, with dijon mustard if preferred.