Cold weather demands heartier fare than the warmth of spring or summer, so at this time of year I scan our cookery books in search of dishes that are not only substantial but also somewhat unusual. Over the week-end I hit the jackpot, at least in terms of name, in Plats du Jours, or Foreign Food by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd (Penguin Books, 1958). How does one even pronounce Boerenkool Met Rookworst En Aardappelen? I’ve tried several times but simply have given up. All you need to know is that, as the recipe states, this Dutch classic is “a rather thick stew, a good dish for a cold winter’s day.”
The primary ingredients are curly kale, potatoes, and sausage, which couldn’t be more Dutch to my way of thinking. Though the recipe specifies smoked sausage, for some reason I couldn’t find any at our local grocer, so I used sweet Italian sausage. Presumably one could use spicy sausage or the variety incorporating apples, et cetera, for a different taste sensation. I’ll be experimenting thusly in the near future, since Boerenkool Met Rookworst En Aardappelen was a rousing success. Our daughter actually cleaned her plate, my husband had seconds and pronounced it “incredibly good.” Perhaps we are Dutch at heart?
BOERENKOOL MET ROOKWORST EN AARDAPPELEN
SOURCE: Plats du Jour, or Foreign Food by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd (Penguin Books, 1958)
8 leaves curly kale [I used 12 leaves]
1-1/4 pound smoked sausage, either 1 large or several small Frankfurters [I used 8 sweet Italian sausages]
4 pounds floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch dice [I used unpeeled fingerling potatoes sliced into 1-inch rounds]
1 bay leaf [I used 2 Turkish bay leaves]
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove the hard stalks from the curly kale [using a sharp knife], wash the leaves well, and put them to boil in salted water [in a medium-size pot or sauce pan]. At the end of 3 minutes, strain the kale and chop it finely.
Clean the pan in which [the kale] was cooked and put in the bottom of it the peeled potatoes, which have been cut into pieces about 1-1/2 inches square. Add a little salt and some black pepper to them, and mix the chopped kale in with the potatoes. Put in the piece of bay leaf and then lay the smoked sausage on top.
Add enough water to the pan to cover the potatoes, put the lid on, and bring the contents to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are well done and the sausage is cooked. It may be necessary to add a little water. The final result should be a rather thick stew, a good dish for a cold winter’s day.