Stamppot, the typical Dutch dish. It doesn’t look very enticing, with the ingredients being mashed together (the name comes from stampen, to mash), but it is extremely comforting and delicious. I don’t really eat stamppot that often, but its simplicity and the comfort it gives are delightful.
Once, I tried making it myself. Coincidentally, my desire to make this Dutch dish went hand in hand together with a deep appreciation (not to say obsession) with the sweet potato. I’ve never had sweet potato before I can to the Netherlands. It is not something that we ate at home, despite being a family of adventurous eaters. But once I moved to the Netherlands, I started exploring all the interesting foods this country has to offer and finally encountered the big, reddish tubers. I think I once made muffins out of them, having read that sweet potato can be used instead of pumpkin.
Encouraged by this, I made sweet potato soup, which is just like pumpkin soup but with sweet potato instead of pumpkin. Sweet potato here and sweet potato there and I was hooked.
I started using them instead of potatoes: in latkes, for example. I mashed them, I baked them, I used them everywhere. Somewhere I decided that I wanted to make stamppot. Using sweet potato to make it more interesting, although in fact I wouldn’t have minded making it with the usual potatoes. It came out too sweet. So the next time I made it, I used half and half sweet potato with normal potato and it was perfect. From that moment on, if I wasn’t making anything sweet, I mixed these two types of potato. The result was to my great satisfaction.
I then read on Global Table Adventure that sweet potato can be mixed together with sweet corn. It looked similar to stamppot. The dish is called irio and originates from Tanzania. So, when I went to my local Albert Heijn with the intention of buying ingredients for my stammpot, I also bought a small can of sweet corn.
Now basically, stamppot is a rather simple dish, with very few ingredients. On of them is potato. The other one is some kind of leafy green vegetable (kale, spinach, endive or apparently turnip greens are also used). For another version called hutspot, carrots and onions are used. Of course, you can cook all of these things seperately but one of the things that attracted me to this dish was its simplicity. And if you have to cook three different things in three different pots, that is not simple. That is complicated.
So I cooked it all in one pot, obviously. Stamppot is a kind of Eintopf (one-pot dish) in this regard. Now you can cook the potatoes and the vegetables all together and you could be done but you would be missing an important part of the dish: the sausage.
Now I think that Dutch sausage is OK (mostly, smoked sausage is used), but I was looking for something to spice up the rather mellow dish a little and to give it some bite. I found it: chorizo. Of course, wonderful, paprika-flavoured chorizo. And I knew from my sweet potato soup that chorizo and sweet potato are a match made in heaven, I bought some chorizo as well. I think it would have been fine to cook it with the vegetables but I decided against it. Instead, I fried it in a pan (no fat added, as the chorizo will release enough of it) and added it later on. The crispiness and its slightly spicey taste of the chorizo is a nice balance to the bland, mellow taste of the stamppot.
I must also admit that somewhere along the cooking process, some grated cheese jumped into the pot when I wasn’t looking. But given that this will result in melted cheese (and we all know that melted cheese makes everything even better), I just didn’t pay attention, on purpose.
My stamppot is inspired by the Dutch tradition, by my expat curiosity and willingness to experiment with unkown ingredients, putting them together in interesting combinations.
I guess this is what the expat life is about: taking on the traditions of your new home country. Mixing them up together with something you know and love. Mixing al that up with something totally new and exciting. Out comes the not really Dutch sweet potato stamppot.
You will need:
500g sweet potato
500g potato (I used kruimig, the ones that can be easily mashed)
150 g green lefay vegetable: I used kale- it goes very well with the sweet potato and chorizo, but spinach or endive work just as well
1 small can sweet corn (140g)
half a broth cube
80g grated cheese
Salt, pepper, rosemary, nutmeg (to taste)
Peel and dice both types of potatoes, put into a pan and cover with water- not too much, just to cover the potatoes. Add some salt and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes cook until tender and add the kale or any other green leafy vegetables you want to use. You can also add the leaves with the potatoes. I also used a broth cube, knowing that the stamppot will be mild in taste.
Salt and pepper to taste. Add rosemary and a pinch of nutmeg.
In the meantime, peel the chorizo, cut it into slices and fry it in a pan (don’t use any fat!) until crispy.
When everything is soft, take apotato masher and mash everything together. Turn down the heat (or if you have an electric stove, turn it off entirely as it takes a long time for electric stoves to cool down)
Add the chorizo. Add the sweetcorn. Add the cheese. Cover the pot and wait until the cheese melts.
Serve. Eat warm on a cold winter day.