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Friday, 4 March 2011

Nutrish and Delish -- 'Boerenkool' -- a Dutch Favorite!

I NEVER thought I would be giving out a DUTCH recipe that I could boast to be 'delish', but honestly -- this one REALLY is. It's ALSO uber-NUTRISH as it is made using ALOT of curly green cabbage, kale -- or what it is called in The Netherlands -- boerenkool -- which literally translates as 'farmers cabbage'.

We all know that this vegetable is chock full of anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals -- a very rich source of calcium.

This is a really neat way of preparing it as it is DIFFERENT that anything you've ever eaten....unless you're Dutch, that is! ;) This dish is also called 'Stampot' -- you'll see why in a minute. it's also classically served with smoked sausage (rookworst --NL), but I make it and serve it with meatballs made with lean beef and oats. Much healthier and very tasty. I've also had it served like this to me by health-minded Dutch women -- so it's not just my 'icky' nutritious adaptation of the original dish.


About 1 1/2 kg (6 medium potatoes) mashing potatoes (Maris Piper, for example). Do NOT peel. In the classic Dutch recipe, they peel them, but I leave the peel on -- remember, I'm an RD! ;)

1 kg curly dark green cabbage or kale, or collard greens -- washed very well, and chopped roughly

1/2 cup milk (I use skimmed)

1 T butter or margarine (I USUALLY omit this, but as I've gotten older, I add an olive-oil margarine INTENTIONALLY to get a bit of fatty acids to help with my aging dry

salt and pepper

Wash potatoes well and place in a large stockpot with water, to cover. Add all of cabbage on top. Bring potatoes and cabbage to the boil and then simmer until potatoes are soft. Take off heat and drain out slight amount of water from pot, if there is any! Set aside. and keep warm.

Make meatballs.


1 kg 5%fat, fresh lean ground beef

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup or 1 small onion, chopped finely

1 T chopped parsley

1T chopped fresh celery leaves

2 eggs

1 T grated aged cheese -- can be Parmesan, but I use Old Amsterdam or aged Gouda -- it just 'fits' this recipe better

some cold water, if needed -- enough to keep mixture moist

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Go easy on the salt, using about 1/4 tsp here -- you can always sprinkle a bit more, to taste, on the cooked dish.
Form into meatballs, about the size of ping-pong balls. Pan-fry in a medium hot fry pan which you've sprayed with olive oil or vegetable oil to ease frying. Fry meatballs until cooked nice and brown. After all meatballs fried -- add a stock prepared from beef or onion bouillion to pan with the meat bits and drippings. Make a sort of gravy or 'jus' with this. Transfer this 'gravy' to a gravy pot and keep warm.

Go back to the potato/cabbage mix. Mash this with a potato masher, while adding milk and butter or margarine. Add salt and pepper, to taste. It should make a stiff, rough, 'mash' that you can now plate out onto warmed plates.

Add a few meatballs next to or on top of the mash. You can pour some of the gravy over this and tuck in.

I serve this dish also with pickles, pearl onions, or 'piccallili' a sort of mustard relish. I also sprinkle vinegar onto the mash instead of adding the gravy or 'jus'. My Dutch husband, however, ALWAYS adds gravy, the other condiments AND mayonnaise!! He is a mayo FREAK! Remember, the Dutch and Flemish eat frites with mayo -- yuk!

Plus, my husband is a big strapping man who has biked all his life, so I guess he 'needs' the extra kcalories for 'energy'. News flash -- I DON'T!

I also often make fresh, unsweetened applesauce to go with this.

Oh, another 'OPTIONAL' thing to do (but which I usually omit unless I'm having hard-core Dutch purists types over when I serve this )-- is to fry up some (about 100 grams or 3 ounces, I know in many Dutch recipes, they add twice this!) bacon bits or 'lardons' as they are called in French, speklappen in Dutch. Fry till done and crisp. Then after you've mashed the potato/boerenkool mixture, you fold these cooked bacon bits through it. It's kind of an extra 'seasoning', if you will. You CERTAINLY would need to decrease your salt seasoning, if you add the bacon.


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