Sauerkraut and Potato Mash with Smoked Pork Sausage (Zuurkoolstamppot met rookworst)

Dutch cuisine is not known for its finesse, but more for hearty dishes like stamppot, potatoes and vegetables mashed together. One of the classic winter dishes is zuurkoolstamppot met rookworst, sauerkraut mashed with potatoes and served with smoked pork sausage. … Continue reading Sauerkraut and Potato Mash with Smoked Pork Sausage (Zuurkoolstamppot met rookworst)

Gooseberry Meringue Pie from Limburg (Kruisbessenvlaai, Krosjelevlaai mit Sjoem)

Limburg is a province in the South of the Netherlands that is famous for its pies, known as vlaai. I’ve already posted recipes for a version with cherries, kersenvlaai, and one with apricots, abrikozenvlaai. One of the most famous types is … Continue reading Gooseberry Meringue Pie from Limburg (Kruisbessenvlaai, Krosjelevlaai mit Sjoem)

Gevulde Speculaas (Speculoos Stuffed with Almond Paste)

Today was my birthday and in the Netherlands it is customary (although not everyone complies) to treat your co-workers to cake on your birthday. This cake can be store-bought or homemade, and it’s easy to guess what I chose. I love gevulde speculaas, which is spiced sweet shortbread (speculaas or also known as speculoos outside the Netherlands), stuffed with almond paste. Speculaas is very Dutch, as it celebrates the spices that were imported by the Dutch (from today’s Indonesia) in the 17th century. It is very popular around the St Nicholas celebration (December 5). The spice mix contains many of the spices that were very exotic back then: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardemom, and white pepper. The combination with almonds works very well. Continue reading “Gevulde Speculaas (Speculoos Stuffed with Almond Paste)”

Braised Flat Iron Steak with Parsnip Fondant (Draadjesvlees)

Braised beef is known as “draadjesvlees” in the Netherlands. This literally means “thread meat”, referring to the flaky structure of the meat. Good draadjesvlees should be juicy and tender, not tough and dry. This means braising it over low heat for a long time. One of the most common cuts that is used for this “sucadelappen”, which in the US is called flat iron steak. The difference is that in the Netherlands the tendon is in the middle is left in and after long braising is eaten. The braised tendon looks like candied peel, which is “sucade” in Dutch. Hence the name.

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The ‘threads’ in the draadjesvlees are clearly visible

The dish I prepared can be made with or without sous-vide. With sous-vide cooking, a flat iron steak or other types of beef that are usually braised, can be cooked for 24-72 hours at 55-57ºC/131-135ºF to obtain the texture of a tender steak cooked to medium rare. I’ve very rarely used sous-vide to get the texture of a traditional braise. Exceptions have been duck confit and pulled pork. This is the first time I’ve prepared draadjesvlees sous-vide. I cooked it for 5 hours at 88ºC/190ºF. The result was comparable to a good traditional braise on the stovetop. The advantage is that there is less margin of error.

The advantage of cooking the beef sous-vide at 88ºC/190ºF is that that is also a fitting temperature for cooking the potatoes and parsnips sous-vide. Continue reading “Braised Flat Iron Steak with Parsnip Fondant (Draadjesvlees)”

Poffertjes

This is the fourth and last installment (for now, anyway) of my series of Dutch sweets made with batter, which so fas has covered pancakes, oliebollen and appelflappen. Poffertjes are tiny pancakes made with a yeasted batter in a special pan called a poffertjespan.  They are usually served with melted butter and powdered sugar. Poffertjes are something you eat mostly as a kid, as a treat from grandma. Poffertjes are prepared at home or bought from a specialized streeet vendor, a poffertjeskraam. Poffertjes should be slightly crispy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. Continue reading “Poffertjes”

Appelflappen (Dutch Apple Fritters)

Appelflappen are almost as common as a treat for New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands as oliebollen. Appelflappen are also known as “appelbeignets”, and to make it more confusing puff fastry envelopes stuffed with apple and then baked are also known as appelflappen. Appelflappen are apple fritters: apple slices dipped in batter and subsequently deep-fried. “Oliebollen en appelflappen” is a common term for what we have on New Year’s Eve. Continue reading “Appelflappen (Dutch Apple Fritters)”

Dutch Pancakes (Pannenkoeken)

Today is Kees’ birthday. I asked him what he’d like to eat for his birthday. He said: “Pannenkoeken!” (Dutch for pancakes.) This is the same answer that most Dutch children will provide by the way 😉 Dutch pancakes are thinner than American pancakes and thicker than French crêpes. Dutch pancakes are not usually eaten for breakfast, but for dinner (for children) or lunch or dessert. They are most simply served with dark syrup (molasses) or plain sugar, with apple and cinnamon, or for a hearty lunch they are also made with bacon and/or cheese. Continue reading “Dutch Pancakes (Pannenkoeken)”

Belgian Endive/Witlof/Chicory Salad with Mandarins and Walnuts

There are few vegetables that have different names in the UK, the US, and Australia, but witlof is one of them. Witlof is what it’s called in Australia and the Netherlands, but it is called Belgian Endive in the US and Chicory in the UK. In this post I’m going to stick to witlof, as this is a Dutch salad.

A witlof salad with mandarins and walnuts is a very homey Dutch dish, that is often made with canned mandarins and store-bought dressing. As such it is okay but nothing special. With a few touches I’ve transformed it into something a lot better: using fresh mandarins rather than from a can, toasting the walnuts, and making my own dressing with fresh mandarin juice and zest, honey and walnut oil. Continue reading “Belgian Endive/Witlof/Chicory Salad with Mandarins and Walnuts”

Apricot Tart (Limburgse Abrikozenvlaai)

The dinner I cooked for Clayton when he visited had to contain something Dutch. After some thinking, I came up with Limburgse abrikozenvlaai, a tart from the province of Limburg that is made with a yeasted dough. I already wrote about kersenvlaai (with cherries) a while ago. Since it’s summer, fresh apricots are available. The apricots are cooked before they are used in the vlaai.

DSC08710 Continue reading “Apricot Tart (Limburgse Abrikozenvlaai)”

Hot dog à la Stefan

Eating hot dogs is not something that really fits with my reputation. It is true that I do not generally eat hot dogs. In winter I do however like to make my own gourmet version and that goes like this: I bake my own wholewheat buns, I procure artisan prize-winning smoked pork sausage (rookworst) from the butcher I frequent, and I serve it with sauerkraut and home-made ketchup. Home-made mustard and home-made sauerkraut would also be nice, but those are bridges I haven’t crossed just yet. And who knows, perhaps I’ll even smoke my own pork sausage one day? In any case, my “hot dog” tastes a lot better than one from a street vendor. Continue reading “Hot dog à la Stefan”

Limburger Cherry Pie (Limburgse Kersenvlaai)

The province of Limburg in the South of the Netherlands is famous for its pies, called “Limburgse Vlaai” in Dutch or simply “Vla” in the local dialect. Vlaai is especially baked or bought for a birthday party.

You may think this looks like an Italian crostata di ciliegie (cherry tart), but the main difference is that a crostata or tart is made using flaky shortcrust pastry (pasta frolla) with 50 grams of butter for each 100 grams of flour, whereas vlaai is made with a yeast dough with only a small amount of butter. This gives the pastry a very different consistency.

There is a big difference between a ‘real’ freshly baked vlaai from Limburg and the industrially produced ones that are available all over the country. Kersenvlaai (vlaai with cherries) is one of the best known kinds. The pastry of the kersenvlaai I remember from my childhood tasted of cardboard. I can still remember the first time I had real kersenvlaai from Limburg, about 20 years ago. A friend of mine from Limburg was visiting, and since Limburg is so far away (3 hours is considered far in this small country of ours), my friend would be sleeping over. His mother had given him a kersenvlaai, bought from the local bakery in Nuth, as a gift for my family. That kersenvlaai was freshly baked and changed my opinion of vlaai completely. It was delicious! It is this kind of kersenvlaai that I tried to bake, and I think I came pretty close for my first attempt. It is fairly easy to do and very tasty, so I urge you to give this a try. You will be glad you did! Continue reading “Limburger Cherry Pie (Limburgse Kersenvlaai)”