“Hutspot met klapstuk” is as close to a Dutch national dish as it gets. Every year, this simple, hearty creation is part of the celebration commemorating the end of the siege of Leiden in 1574. The Dutch were in revolt against the Spanish Habsburg monarch and in the course of the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648), the city was besieged in attempt to starve it into surrender. However, Dutch strategy prevailed, as dikes were punctured and the Spanish positions flooded, and Leiden was soon freed. The liberators brought herring, white bread and hutspot, and this is what residents still eat today to celebrate the liberation of Leiden.
- 2-lb piece of beef brisket
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 2 lg onions, peeled & sliced
- 1 lb carrots, peeled & cubed
- 1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 1 lb white turnips, peeled & cubed
- 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled & cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
Put brisket in a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven. Add 1 qt of water, bay leaves and salt. Bring slowly to a boil on medium heat and continue to cook covered over medium heat for at least of 2 1/2 hours, turning meat over halfway through. Melt butter in a heavy skillet on medium heat, then add onions and a pinch of salt; cook slowly until onions are soft and golden, 6-8 minutes. Remove bay leaves from brisket pan and discard; add vegetables and cooked onions. The liquid should just cover meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Remove meat with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Pour out about 2 C of liquid out of pot and reserve to use as soup stock. Mash vegetables roughly with a masher, leaving some lumps, aiming for a loose and fluffy texture. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Slice brisket across the grain and serve on top of hutspot. Serve with mustard on the side.
- Makes 6-8 servings.