Traditional Finnish food and Dutch traditional food have a lot in common being mostly based on potatoes and roots. However in cooking style it is wildly different. This is because Dutch people have not many traditions to begin with. We easily adapt to other cuisines. First French, than Italian and Chinese and nowadays simply everything goes. What comes from afar is enjoyable is a popular saying in the Netherlands.


Pea soup


However the Dutch never left their basic winter food. As the Finns we make pea soup, not just with peas, but with makkara, pork or bacon in it. Every year we have a world championship of pea soup (we call it snert by the way), and every year a Dutch person wins. Mostly those winners come from the Northern provinces where they kind of specialize in this kind of cooking.

 Dutch pea soup (snert)





Another Dutch speciality is stamppot. Stamppot is mostly a 50/50 mix of cut potatoes and a cabbage (red, white, savoy, lehtikaali). Cooked until the potatoes are ready and then mashed in chunks, but not smoothly like a perunamuusi. The chunkiness gives it an extra dimension. Salt and pepper are usually added after the mashing. Stamppot is usually served with a good cooked or grilled sausage. Traditionally we also add gravy (you know the left over fat after you fried something), but leaner tastes have made the use of gravy gone out of fashion. Special dishes in this category are Zuurkool (Hapankaali) and boerenkool (Lehtikaali).

Lehtikaali stamppot with sausage and bacon pieces


Hutspot with sausage and a hole filled with gravy.



Hutspot is a special stamppot in the sense that it is not made of cabbage. Instead the cabbage is replaced by chunks of carrot and onion. So it means 50% potatoes, 25% carrots and 25% onions. Hutspot is a popular dish in the Netherlands because it is easy to make. The city of Leiden has every year a traditional hutspot party. It commemorates the end of the siege of Leiden by the Spanish forces in 1574. As the story goes the town got so hungry that they were about to give up when suddenly the Spanish forces withdrew. What they found outside the wall was a kettle with hutspot and ever since they eat that with herring and Jenever (A wodka like strong drink). It's noteworthy that hutspot at the time did not contain potatoes. This dish still had to be discovered in a far away country called Peru (you don't call here “peruna” for nothing). The Spanish brought it to Europe after their conquest of the Inca empire and it has been a major source of food in Europe ever since.

Hutspot with sausage and a hole filled with gravy.


Bacon slices



As a nice addition it is customary, but not required, to take a separate pan and fry small bacon pieces in their own fat. The bacon pieces are nowadays to be found everywhere in Finnish supermarkets. Fortunately, because this was not the case ten years ago. When the bacon pieces sizzle in their own fat, they become nicely crunchy. We throw the fat away and mix the bacon with the stamppot after smashing the potatoes. Put less salt than normally. The bacon is already salty enough. Pepper according to taste.

So, this was my first introduction to the delights of the Dutch kitchen. You will find that it has a lot to offer and that in many ways it fits nicely with Finnish tastes and traditions. Hint: Combine the best of both worlds by making Karjalan paisti and stamppot. More about this later.

Bacon slices


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