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Traditional Dutch winter dishes

While winters in the Netherlands aren’t quite what they used to be, the cold temperatures still call for some hearty and seasonal dishes.

Moreover, autumn and winter actually offer the very best of traditional Dutch cuisine, and who doesn’t like a little Dutch comfort food to stay warm!

Dutch pea soup

Traditional dishes in the Netherlands are quite hearty, perfect for the cooler temperatures during the winter months.

An authentic Dutch specialty is called snert or erwtensoep, a thick green soup made with split peas, carrot, onions and celery, and filled with cubes of bacon.

The Dutch pea soup should be thick enough for a spoon to remain standing upright in it. It's customary to serve this hearty winter soup with slices of rookworst (smoked sausage).

The Dutch love potatoes

Whether they’re boiled, fried, mashed or roasted, potatoes accompany most main meals in the Netherlands, making them a key ingredient in Dutch cuisine.

Stamppot is the general name given to any mashed potatoes with vegetables, often mixed with carrots.

Dutch andijviestamppot

Curly endive (also known as frisée or endive lettuce) is used in the Netherlands to make a traditional winter dish called andijviestamppot.

The contrast between the slightly bitter edge of the curly green chicory leaves and the creamy potatoes is the key to the unique flavour of this authentic Dutch dish.

Many traditional andijviestamppot recipes simply combine mashed potatoes and raw curly endive with a bit of butter, milk, nutmeg and seasoning.

Dutch boerenkoolstamppot is another very popular version of stamppot, but with shredded kale. Hutspot, also a Dutch classic, consists of potatoes, carrots and onions all mashed together.

Brussel sprouts (spruitjes) are a popular ingredient that the Dutch like to mix in with their mashed potatoes as well.

Traditional Dutch vegetable soup

This traditional Dutch vegetable soup with meatballs, or groentesoep met balletjes, can be tweaked to suit every season. Winter versions often have meatballs, kale, carrots and celeriac.

Dutch hachee stew

Hachee is a traditional beef and onion stew that’s perfect for the cold winter months. The long, slow cooking time produces an extremely tender meat and a sauce with a wonderfully rich flavour.

The word hachee comes from the French verb hacher, which means "to chop". Hachee has been around since the Middle Ages and like many traditional Dutch dishes, it was originally a peasant dish, created as a means of using up leftover meat and vegetables. 

Vinegar was used to tenderise tough pieces of meat, much like French peasants used wine.  Less expensive vegetables like onions were used in large amounts, and a long cooking process further ensured that the meat would be tender. 

Most hachee recipes use equal parts of beef and onion and the onions are caramelised.  The flavours in this stew include cloves, juniper berries, black peppercorns, bay leaves and vinegar.

Hachee remains a very popular dish in the Netherlands to this day, and most Dutch supermarkets carry ready-to-eat hachee microwave meals. 

But nothing beats homemade hachee of course, and your patience with the long, slow cooking process will certainly be rewarded with a very savoury and authentic Dutch dish!
 

What are your favourite Dutch dishes during the winter months?

Thomas

Author

Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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