Saturday, March 12, 2011


There is a dish I am particularly fond of from various areas across Northern Europe which is just simply cabbage or kale mixed in with mashed potatoes and an onion. My Mum made it as "Bubble and Squeak" and the old Irish Heather in Vancouver served it up as Colcannon. Similar dishes have names like "rumbledethumps", pyttipanna, biksemad, champ, hash, stoemp and stamppot. All are variations on the same thing, including or excluding certain vegetables with potato as the core.

The Dutch variation is stamppot but most Dutch people I knew back home simply referred to it as boercole, their name for kale. Kale is exceptionally good for us and I love it, so I made boercole for dinner. Kale is very tough and typically harvested after the first frost, making it sweeter and more edible. I stick my kale in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (sometimes I just leave it in there) before taking it out and chopping it up, stripping it away from the thicker stalks. I use quite a bit of it and boil it in a pot. You may be able to find chopped kale in a tin or dried kale as well.
The Dutch use a smoked sausage called rookworst, but I can't find that here so I double smoked farmer sausage which tastes close enough. Slice up the sausage and cook it with the kale. If you are worried about the fat content, cook it separately, strain it and add it in latter. Make your mashed potatoes (sometimes they can be cooked in with the kale as well) how you like. My Dad barely adds butter, preferring his course, chunky and dry. (he enjoys suffering for some reason) I use milk and butter/margarine and add onion into the mix. Once the potatoes are ready, I add in my strained kale and sausage and eat.
The Dutch sometimes make a gravy for stamppot and Germans will make a white sauce with onion. I like the white sauce, but it is too much fat. I also added in wild mushrooms for my dish. Another variation I made for my Dad was to take his left over ham and cabbage and mix it into potatoes.
Anyhow, if it is still cold where you are try this dish. It makes for a good winter dish, warming, filling and nutritious.


Geosomin said...

the first time I had this in Ireland it was very badly made, and for the longest time I didn't have it again. I did brave it to try again and was pleasantly surprised. I still have to convince myself to try it tho - done right it's tasty. Badly...*shudder*

Magnus said...

I'll have to make it for you guys. Some of the best colcannon I have ever had was at the Irish Heather. They don't do it anymore, but you could just order colcannon on its own. Went well with a beer and some whiskey. Now they serve it with their bangers and mash and braised corned beef and cabbage.
If you go to that store you were telling me about just outside of town and grab some farmer sausage (preferably smoked) I'd be happy to supply the kale and potatoes. The white sauce is optional.

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