Tag: Traditional Foods of the Netherlands

Legendary Dishes | Gerookte Paling (smoked eels)

NETHERLANDS

Every year between May and October, DHL ship boxes of live eels packed in ice from Belfast International Airport to Heathrow and Schipol, sent by the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society in Toome.

It is mid-morning and the fish shop on West-Kruiskade in the centre of Rotterdam is selling out of smoked eels. The demand these days always seems to exceed the supply. Lovers of this treat are worried.

Pat Close of the Lough Neagh Fishers insists they have nothing to worry about. He sends the same message out to those who have been predicting the end of the Lough Neagh eel fishery and others like it.

Toome-born into a farming background, Close gave up a good job as an advisor in the Department of Argiculture, accepting the call of the eels. They needed help and he was ready to give it.

Like everyone in the area of Lough Neagh he knew about the crash. Two years before he joined the coop, the young eels migrating along the Gulf Stream from the Sargasso Sea off the coast of Florida didn’t turn up.

After years of between eight and fifteen million eels coming into the Bann at Coleraine every year, the number was down to 726,000. It was a global problem. Every estuary in Europe that attracted eels saw a decline.

To alleviate the problems caused by the crash, the coop started buying young eels from other fisheries. ‘Lough Neagh is a commercial fishery being exploited, not over exploited, and in order to maintain the intensity we need to maintain that stock, not only would that affect our business it would have an impact on the eels stock of Europe.’

‘If we weren’t here the eels would be depleted, this is a finite resource and needs to be managed. We let 40% go back to the Sargasso Sea.’

The real issue, Close insists, is local. No new fishing licences have been issued for 20 years and this presents Close with a conundrum. At its peak there were 200 boats licenced to go out on the lough, now there are 113. A hundred on the lough is the limit and will remain so while eel stocks are low.

Because the costs of running a boat is high, the fishing has remained with the families who have the tradition, passing from father to son. This knowledge base and the skills that go with it, Close acknowledges, are the key to the future of eel fishing on Lough Neagh.

With a turnover of £3m a year, the vast majority going into the communities around the lough, he knows the fishers and the fish must be sustained. And with the fishers getting older, Close wants to see younger people involved but fears the seasonal nature of the work and the long days are a deterent.

‘They go out after 4am, all out together, they look after each other, a couple of hours to lift the lines, grade out the young eels, back in for 7-7.30, into the coop at 8.30, and go out at midday again, to continue a couple of hours, running lines, quite a long day, and I would like to see more young people in it.’

In the Netherlands they hope so too. They know what Close knows.
‘Lough Neagh eels are unique, the flesh is perfect for smoking, which is why they are regarded as the best in Europe.’

An oily fish rich with omega 3, the Dutch eat more smoked eel than fresh eel. They only smoke the fatter fish, because it tastes better, which is why they covet Irish eels and are worried that one day they will be gone. This is a typical dressing for smoked eel.

This is a typical dressing for smoked eel.

  • Smoked eels
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 15 ml soy sauce
  • Half a lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons basil, torn
  • 6 blades of chive, chopped
  • Black pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch

Legendary Dishes | Zuurkool met Worst (fermented cabbage with sausage)

NETHERLANDS

Traditionally this dish was made with fresh sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut.

The sauerkraut was simmered in salted water for 30 minutes, then sliced potatoes and whole sausages were added until cooked.

White beans replaced potatoes in some recipes.

Gradually this recipe morphed into a stamppot.

The potatoes were mashed after being cooked. Onions were fried with smoked bacon in butter. The sausages were fried and braised.

Modern versions of zuurkool met worst tend to be bittersweet and savoury.

  • 700 g smoked sausage, thick sliced
  • 600 g sauerkraut, rinsed, drained
  • 2 apples, cored, peeled, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 100 g bacon, diced
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 15 g caraway seeds
  • 6 juniper berries
  • Butter, for greasing

In a heavy bottomed pot place apple, caraway, juniper, sauerkraut and sugar, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours over a low heat.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Grease a wide baking tray.

Fry bacon and onion over a high heat until both are crispy and caramelised. Add to sauerkraut mixture.

Fry sausage pieces over a high heat. Add to sauerkraut mixture.

Pour into tray, bake for an hour.


Indigenous Ingredients

Apple
Bacon
Caraway Seed
Juniper Berry
Onion
Smoked Sausage
Soured Cabbage Sauerkraut

Legendary Dishes | Boterkoek (butter cake)

NETHERLANDS

Made with shortbread ingredients, this cake is more like a biscuit, and yet another confection with the egg dilemma. Some cooks make it without a filling or make a small gesture with almond paste. This version has a rich filling, the ginger in syrup adding an oriental touch. We are not using an egg!

Dough

  • 200 g butter, chilled
  • 200 g vanilla sugar
  • 125 g almonds, ground
  • 125 g white spelt flour
  • 15 ml milk, for brushing
  • Salt, pinch

Filling

  • 100 g apricots, dried, soaked, chopped small
  • 50 g almonds, skinned, flaked
  • 45 g ginger syrup
  • 30 g root ginger in syrup
  • 24 cm cake mould

Preheat oven to 180°C.

In a large bowl whisk the sugar into the butter, add the almonds, flour and salt.

Form into a dough, divide into two equal pieces.

Combine apricots, syrup, ginger and flaked almonds.

On a floured surface roll a piece of the dough to amply cover the base of the cake mould.

Spoon filling onto this base.

Roll second piece of dough, place over the filling.

Brush top with the milk and with a fork or knife create a motif on the surface.

Bake for 55 minutes until golden brown, cool and cut into wedges.


Legendary Dishes | Mitraillette (potato fries, meat, sauce in bread roll)

BELGIUM FRANCE NETHERLANDS

The mitraillette, a culinary creation like no other, is embedded in Belgian, French and Dutch snack food culture so to think of it as a domestic dish or a restaurant special – a meal in itself – is almost revolutionary, more scattergun than strategic.

Yet there is evidence that a culture for a rustic home-made mitraillette has begun to emerge in recent years.

The home-made fricadelle of Belgium and northern France and the home-made frikandel of the Netherlands have simply reverted back to the original traditon, before the rise of the butcher-made products and the demand for commercial products to serve the snack culture.

Home-made baguettes require a small tweak of the baker version.

Pommes frites are relatively easy to make at home.

Sauces are just as easily made in the domestic environment.

The mitraillette Fricot-style can be assembled from baguettes maison, pomme frites, fricadelles maison, Hollandische frikandel and andalouse sauce.


Legendary Dishes | Pommes Frites (potato fries)

FRANCE BELGIUM NETHERLANDS

Frites are twice-fried, in oil, then in lard.

In Belgium the choice of lard is unrefined beef tallow – blanc de bœuf – the choice of oil is rapeseed, also known as vegetable oil.

  • 2 litres rapeseed oil
  • 1 kg lard
  • 1 kg potatoes, soaked 30 minutes, rinsed to remove starch, cut 1 cm thick, leave to dry

Heat a deep frier filled with oil to 175°C.

Deep-fry chips for 7 minutes at 140ºC, until al dente with some colour.

Remove to a large plate covered with absorbent kitchen paper. Rest for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a deep frier filled with lard to 180°C.

Deep-fry chips at 170°C until they are golden and crisp, about 3 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Fricadelles Maison (home-made sausages)

BELGIUM NORTHERN FRANCE

The fricadelle has it origins in Europe in 1837 and 40 years later it was known in America where a recipe called fricatelli was featured in Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping published by the Buckeye Publishing Company of Minneapolis and Ohio. This was a book of recipes by home cooks. The fricatelli recipe was contributed by Mrs. W. F. W.

Chop raw fresh pork very fine, add a little salt, plenty of pepper, and two small onions chopped fine, half as much bread as there is meat, soaked until soft, two eggs; mix well together, make into oblong patties, and fry like oysters. These are nice for breakfast; if used for supper, serve with sliced lemon.

Mrs W’s recipe resolves the issue over the quantity of bread, which appears excessive until it is compared with the meatball tradition and the answer to the question, ‘what is a frikadelle?’

It is a meatball AND it is a sausage.

In Denmark the frikadeller is a meatball.

In Liechtenstein the frikadellen is a meatball served in a bread roll.

  • 450 ml milk
  • 300 g cooked chicken, minced
  • 300 g minced meat (from beef, pork, veal)
  • 250 g bread, soaked in the milk, drained, squeezed
  • 150 g onions, cut into small dice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, chopped small
  • 3 sprigs parsley, chopped small
  • Nutmeg, 5 gratings
  • Flour, for rolling sausages
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Fry onions in oil in a small frying pan for five minutes, reduce heat to low, cover pan with a plate and leave to sweat for 15 minutes.

Place the soaked bread in a bowl. Add the chicken and meat, eggs, onions, herbs, nutmeg and seasonings.

Work into a homogenous mass, form into long sausages, roll in flour, fry on all sides in a pan with sufficent oil.

Serve warm with homemade potato fries and choice of sauce or with mitraillette.


Breads of Europe | Baguettes Maison (home-made bread sticks)

BELGIUM FRANCE NETHERLANDS
  • 1 kg white wheat flour, t650
  • 660 ml mineral / spring water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 25 g yeast
  • 20 g salt
  • 10 g sugar

Dissolve yeast in the sugar and 130 millilitres of water.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, yeast mixture and remaining water.

This mixture requires extensive hand kneading, to produce a soft dough that is not sticky, somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.

Leave to rise covered for three hours, degas twice.

The dough should be shaped into long slim loaves, and placed between folds of parchment on baking trays.

Leave to rise for at least an hour, preferably two depending on the ambient temperature.

Preheat oven to 235°C.

Place a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.

When the temperature comes back up to 230ºC, bake baguettes for 20 minutes.


Condiment | Andalouse Sauze (anchovy, onion, tomato sauce)

BELGIUM NETHERLANDS
  • 250 ml mayonnaise / velouté (white sauce)
  • 250 g fresh tomatoes, soaked in warm water, peeled, chopped small
  • 120 ml tomato soaking water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 90 g shallot, cut into small dice
  • 30 g anchovies
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs, chopped small
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp green pepper
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp dried vegetables
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp spices (from speculaas mixture or allspice, cardamon, clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, white pepper)
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp wine vinegar
  • 1 red chilli pepper (optional)

Soak tomatoes in boiling water, skin, remove core, chop into small pieces.

Sweat shallots in oil over a medium heat until they begin to soften, add anchovies, garlic, tomatoes, dried herbs, dried vegetables, seasonings and spices. Cook until the liquid has evaporated.

Add the capers, mustard, soy sauce and wine vinegar, and, if using, the chilli pepper and sugar.

Fold the tomato mixture into mayonnaise or a velouté, blend, reheat gently and serve with potato frites or use as a dressing on a mitraillette.

Alternatively omit the blending stage and serve as a coarse sauce.


Legendary Dishes | ‘Hete Bliksem’ Stamppot (apple and potato mash – vegan version)

NETHERLANDS

Image shows apple and potato mash with a ground cinnamon garnish


This dish comes in numerous variations that contain blood, pork, smoked or spicy sausages, with beef or pork mince, with crispy bacon, with sautéed chicken livers.

The mash can contain sweet or sour apples or a combination, with sweet or spicy seasonings and sometimes with pears instead of apples.

This is the sweet apple and potato vegan version with cinnamon seasoning and a fresh mint and nutmeg garnish. Stamppot experts recommend a hint of sourness so we added a sour apple. The same criteria can be applied to the sour apple version.

  • 1.5 kg floury potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 1.25 kg sweet apples, cored, quartered
  • 250 g sour apple, cored, quartered
  • 30 g olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • Nutmeg, 2 gratings per portion
  • Salt, two large pinch
  • Mint, fresh, chopped, for garnish
  • Water, for boiling

Boil apples and potatoes with a pinch of salt in sufficient water to cover in a large pot, strain, mash with oil, season with cinnamon, garnish with mint and nutmeg.


Legendary Dishes | Boerenkoolstamppot met Rookworst (kale and potato mash with smoked sausage)

NETHERLANDS

Another traditional kale dish, this mashed kale and potato stew is a Dutch classic with numerous subtle variations – kale, potatoes, milk and butter the only constants.

Smoked sausages (generally Gelderse) complete the dish but it is also garnished with bacon.

Vinegar is a tangy ingredient in some of the classic preparations, a role also played by mustard while the modern versions call for dried vegetables, herbs and spices.

Leeks have also been known to find their way into the ingredients list because they add a gentle flavour to the kale.

The Dutch food web list 162 recipes.

The Gelderland smoked sausage story is told by traditional food specialists Vers-inspiratie (Fresh Inspiration).

  • 1.5 kg floury potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 1 kg kale leaves, stalks removed
  • 550 g smoked sausages, sliced thickly
  • 500 g onions
  • 100 ml milk, hot
  • 100 g bacon, cubed or cut into strips, grilled (optional)
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (optional)
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 30 g dried onions
  • 2 tsp dried vegetables
  • 5 sprigs marjoram
  • 3 sprig lovage, chopped
  • Nutmeg, 2-3 gratings for each portion
  • Salt, pinch
  • Mustard, for dressing

Boil onions and potatoes with salt in sufficient water to cover in a large pot, strain and retain cooking liquid.

Put kale in a large pot with the onion-potato liquid, cook until leaves wilt.

Drain the liquid into a new pot.

Squeeze liquid from the kale into the new pot, add the sausages, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

When the kale has cooled, cut into small pieces, put in a small pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

Mash onions and potatoes with butter and milk, fold in kale, add the herbs and seasonings, and, if using, the vinegar.

Serve garnished with the mustard, sausages, nutmeg and, if preferred, crispy bacon strips.


Indigenous Ingredients

Note from Fricot Editors:

Please bear with us while we continue to prepare the indigenous ingredients database.

Butter
Kale
Lovage
Marjoram
Onion
Potato
Smoked Sausage

THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Wallonia | Frikadel or Frikandel?

When we crossed the border into Antwerp, the fast food traditions of the Dutch were evident in numerous frituur around the city including frituur centraal in the bowels of the grand railway station with its architectural magnificence.

There was the obvious cultural meld — bitterballen, frikandel, shaslik, viandel, the shoarma we had in Rotterdam, the stoofvlees we would taste in Ghent, served with fries, and the usual cultural influence from across the continent. When we got to Brussels, the Dutch influence was less evident. It was there we noticed the anomally.

It was not the metamorphosis that had changed Dutch frikandels into fricadelles, from sausages into meatballs, and into a frituur food called mitraillette. Somewhere between the Dutch low lands and the Belgian hill lands, the frikandels had lost their ‘n’!

At the time we did not give it any thought, I think we passed it off as a spelling mistake, until some years later when the debate about these fast foods focused the minds of those who wanted to sound the alarm about the dangers of food additives – ‘certain additives present in fricadelles are not recommended for health,’ they said.

Dangers Alimentaires announced that ‘the fricadelle (or fricandelle) is a sausage known to all in the north of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Traditionally cooked in oil, this 18 cm sausage can be found in all friteries‘.

Of its composition they remarked, ‘everyone knows what is inside but nobody says it,’ that it is a top secret and they lamented, ‘Fricadelles were once made by butchers, now everything is industrialised’.

Did you see it? That ‘n’!

So we decided to resolve the mystery and soon found we were not alone in our quest. Frikadel, Wouter van Wingerden discovered, was a minced meat preparation – a ‘kind of meatball’ – with an old history. It had been in dictionaries for a long time and was still known in modern Belgian dictionaries as a meatball. He discovered something else.

Gerrit de Vries was a snack manufacturer from Dordrecht. In the 1950s he came up with a recipe for frikadel. But there was too much flour in his meatballs. He was told he was not allowed to use the name frikadel, so he changed the shape, put an ‘n’ in and the frikandel sausage was born.

Or was it?

Wouter van Wingerden revealed an earlier mention of the frikandel sausage from a 1943 newspaper?”

It does not really matter. The traditional frikandel will never rival the commercial frikadel among fast food aficionados, all they will do is show the other side of this culinary universe!

Meanwhile the frikandel Gerrit de Vries created lives on in this homemade fricadelle.


Legendary Dishes | Linzensoep Traditioneel (traditional lentil soup)

Dutch lentil soup garnished with lovage leaves
NETHERLANDS

Throughout the 1800s Dutch lentil soup was made with onions or leeks and cabbage or celery and various amounts of brown or red lentils, cooled, pushed through a sieve, re-heated and seasoned with herbs and spices which included celery seeds, cinnamon, cloves and cumin seeds. The onions or leeks would have been fried in lard.

Gradually the recipe evolved to include cayenne, chilli or paprika and garlic for a piquant taste and, to the amazement of the purists, pieces of meat and sausages.

This is the traditional version, spiced with a strong onion flavour.

  • 1 litre water (more if necessary)
  • 1 kg onions, sliced thin
  • 500 g leeks, sliced thin
  • 250 g red lentils, washed, soaked overnight
  • 250 g white cabbage, blanched in 1 litre of hot water, shredded (retain water)
  • 45 ml rapeseed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne / chilli powder
  • 1 tsp g cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig lovage

Cook the lentils in one litre of water until they are soft, add the cabbage.

Fry the leeks in 2 tablespoons of oil over a high heat for 5 minutes, cover, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add one tablespoon of oil to the leek mixture, increase heat, add onions and spices, fry for 5 minutes with constant stirring. Stir in the garlic, cover, reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes.

Pour the cabbage-lentil mixture into the onion-leek mixture. Stir in the cabbage water and the lovage. Ladle in batches into a blender, blend into a purée, adding more water for a thinner soup.

Re-heat.

Legendary Dishes | Holländische Frikandel (Dutch minced meat sausages)

NETHERLANDS

These sausages are enigmatic because they have a curious history. In Belgium and northern France they are called fricadelles, in other areas of France boulette de viande hachée (minced meat ball). However in the Netherlands they are called something else, so bear with us for a few minutes while we explain the history of these enigmatic sausages.

  • 500 g beef, minced
  • 500 g pork, minced
  • 500 g chicken / turkey, minced
  • 200 ml chicken / meat jelly
  • 3 eggs
  • 175 g breadcrumbs
  • 100 g onion, chopped small, blended into a pureé with garlic
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped small, blended into a pureé with onion
  • 3 tbsp dried herbs
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 nutmeg, grated
  • 15 cloves, blended or pounded into powder
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, blended or pounded into powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 pieces of clingfilm 30 cm x 20 cm

In a large bowl knead the garlic-onion pureé, seasonings and spices into the minced meat for about ten minutes. Add the eggs and jelly, work into the meat mixture. Finally fold in the breadcrumbs to form a homegenous mixture.

Arrange a sheet of clingfilm on a clean surface. With moist hands place 100 grams of the mixture in the centre of the clingfilm. Wrap the clingfilm over the mixture, shape into 15 cm long sausages. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Replace the clingfilm after seven sausages.

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Bake the sausages for 35 minutes.

Top 5 Legendary Dishes on Fricot

ONE

Judd mat Gaardebounen

smoked pork collar with broad bean sauce




TWO

Bratwürst mit Zwiebelsauce und Rösti

sausages with onion sauce and grated potatoes




THREE

Risotto al Tastasal / Risotto alla Veronese

vialone nano rice with seasoned ground pork, parmigiano, rosemary, cinnamon in beef broth and white wine




FOUR

Farçon

puréed potatoes with fruit, eggs, herbs and spices




FIVE

the hairdresser =
French fries, shoarma / shawarma meat,
cheese, salad and sauce


Legendary Dishes | Slavinken (bacon-wrapped pork birds)

These are sausage slavinken.
NETHERLANDS

The slavink was originally a songbird wrapped in a combination of fatty bacon and pork fillet, and cooked under a hot grill. When this practice was frowned apon and banned in northern European countries, the fillet was wrapped around minced veal. Gradually minced pork was wrapped in bacon. Intrepid cooks wrap fat pork sausages in the bacon, you will see why in a minute. In the Netherlands slavinken are available ready-to-cook.

  • 1 kg pork, minced / thick pork sausages
  • 450 g white bread loaf, sliced, crusts removed, soaked in water for ten minutes
  • 60 slices streaky bacon
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 30 g nutmeg
  • 15 g pepper
  • Butter, for frying (optional)

Break the egg into a bowl, add nutmeg and pepper to taste. Squeeze water out of the bread, add to bowl. Add meat. Knead the mixture until the fat begins to separate.

Place two slices of bacon at right angles to each other, one slice off to the left. Place a third slice adjacent the left-sided slice.

Spoon stuffing across the width of the two slices. Shape into an oblong.

Fold the bottom left slice over the stuffing, followed by the top right slice. Fold the end slices, on the left and right, on top of the previous slices. Finish by folding the remaining slices on the top left and the bottom right.

Melt butter in a frying pan over a high heat. Add sufficient slavinken to fill the pan. Sear quickly on each side. Reduce heat, cover the pan and fry for six minutes each side. Repeat with remaining slavinken.

Alternatively lay the bacon slices on a wooden board, stretch each slice thin with the blade of a cutting knife, season the bacon with the nutmeg and pepper, remove to a plate.

If the sausages are large and thick you will need two slices of bacon per sausage.

Place the bacon at an angle on the board, place the sausage at the left edge of the bacon and roll at an angle with an overlap to cover the sausage. Place the second slice under the middle of the sasuage and repeat the process until the sausage is fully wrapped.

Place slavinken on a rack, grill with several turns until the bacon is crispy and the fat runs off.

Culinary Connections | Sausage Preparations

ITALY NETHERLANDS PORTUGAL

Amêijoas na Cataplana

The cataplana is a clam-shaped copper utensil for cooking light stews. A large wide saucepan is an admirable substitute.

The clams favoured by the Portuguese are medium-sized, anything smaller like the Italian vongole or larger like the Atlantic scallop won’t work with this dish.

The preferred place of cooking is outside, a half-moon on the horizon.

  • 1.5 kg clams, soaked in salt water
  • 500 g tomatoes, blanched, skinned, diced
  • 500 g chorizo, thick sliced
  • 150 g onions, chopped
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Black Pepper, large pinch
  • Parsley, for garnish
  • Pimento, flakes, for garnish

Sauté garlic and onion over a low heat for ten minutes.

Turn up heat, pour wine and reduce for five minutes.

Add tomatoes, bring to boil. Add chorizo.

Turn heat down, simmer for ten minutes.

Remove clams from brine, rinse in cold water.

Add to tomato mixture, cook for ten minutes until clams open.

Serve immediately. Garnish with parsley and pimento flakes.


Zuurkool met Worst

Traditionally this dish was made with fresh sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut. The sauerkraut was simmered in salted water for 30 minutes, then sliced potatoes and whole sausages were added until cooked.

White beans replaced potatoes in some recipes.

Gradually this recipe morphed into a stamppot. The potatoes were mashed after being cooked. Onions were fried with smoked bacon in butter. The sausages were fried and braised.

Modern versions of zuurkool met worst tend to be bittersweet and savoury.

  • 700 g smoked sausage, thick sliced
  • 600 g sauerkraut, rinsed, drained
  • 2 apples, cored, peeled, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 100 g bacon, diced
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 15 g caraway seeds
  • 6 juniper berries
  • Butter, for greasing

In a heavy bottomed pot place apple, caraway, juniper, sauerkraut and sugar, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours over a low heat.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a wide baking tray.

Fry bacon and onion over a high heat until both are crispy and caramelised. Add to sauerkraut mixture.

Fry sausage pieces over a high heat.

Add to sauerkraut mixture.

Pour into tray, bake for an hour.


Pollo Colle Salsicce

Nineteenth century Europe for those with land was a place of plenty.

Everything was produced on the farm – cottage and farm cheeses, cured pork, potted meat, terrines and the like, and most of all home-made sausages.

These became essential ingredient in sauces and stews.

One recipe was ubiquitous, sautéed chicken with sausages, largely because it was made with home produce, and chickens were plentiful.

Across Europe there were countless variations.

This is an adaptation of one recipe collected by Pellegrino Artusi in his Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

‘Chop half an onion very fine and put it in a saucepan with a bit of butter and four or five thin slices of prosciutto about a finger in width. On top of these ingredients put a whole chicken. Season with pepper and a little salt, and put on the fire. When it has browned all over and the onion has completely dissolved, moisten with broth or water and add three or four freshly-made whole sausages. Cook over a slow fire, making sure some liquid remains at the end.’

  • 1.5 kg chicken, whole
  • 250 ml chicken broth
  • 6 pork sausages
  • 1 onion
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 15 g butter
  • Oil, for frying
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt

Wrap chicken in prosciutto, carefully brown in oil, turning several times in a wide saucepan. Season.
In a large deep pot, sauté onion in butter for 20 minutes.

Put chicken into pot, add broth, bring to boil, cover and simmer for an hour.

Add sausages and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.


THE FRONT PAGE


Lough Neagh | IRELAND | Giving Eels A Chance

Every year between May and October, DHL ship boxes of live eels packed in ice from Belfast International Airport to Heathrow and Schipol, sent by the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society in Toome.

LoughNeaghEelsonthe Run
Eels of Lough Neagh

It’s mid-morning and the fish shop on West-Kruiskade in the centre of Rotterdam is selling out of smoked eels. The demand these days always seems to exceed the supply. Lovers of this treat are worried.

Pat Close of the Lough Neagh Fishers insists they have nothing to worry about. He sends the same message out to those who have been predicting the end of the Lough Neagh eel fishery and others like it.

Toome-born into a farming background, Close gave up a good job as an advisor in the Department of Argiculture, accepting the call of the eels.

They needed help and he was ready to give it.

Like everyone in the area of Lough Neagh he knew about the crash. Two years before he joined the coop, the young eels migrating along the Gulf Stream from the Sargasso Sea off the coast of Florida didn’t turn up.

After years of between eight and fifteen million eels coming into the Bann at Coleraine every year, the number was down to 726,000. It was a global problem. Every estuary in Europe that attracted eels saw a decline.

To alleviate the problems caused by the crash, the coop started buying young eels from other fisheries. ‘Lough Neagh is a commercial fishery being exploited, not over exploited, and in order to maintain the intensity we need to maintain that stock, not only would that affect our business it would have an impact on the eels stock of Europe.

‘If we weren’t here the eels would be depleted, this is a finite resource and needs to be managed. We let 40% go back to the Sargasso Sea.’

The real issue, Close insists, is local. No new fishing licences have been issued for 20 years and this presents Close with a conundrum. At its peak there were 200 boats licenced to go out on the lough, now there are 113. A hundred on the lough is the limit and will remain so while eel stocks are low.

Because the costs of running a boat is high, the fishing has remained with the families who have the tradition, passing from father to son. This knowledge base and the skills that go with it, Close acknowledges, are the key to the future of eel fishing on Lough Neagh.

With a turnover of £3m a year, the vast majority going into the communities around the lough, he knows the fishers and the fish must be sustained. And with the fishers getting older, Close wants to see younger people involved but fears the seasonal nature of the work and the long days are a deterent.

‘They go out after 4am, all out together, they look after each other, a couple of hours to lift the lines, grade out the young eels, back in for 7-7.30, into the coop at 8.30, and go out at midday again, to continue a couple of hours, running lines, quite a long day, and I would like to see more young people in it.’

In the Netherlands they hope so too. They know what Close knows.

‘Lough Neagh eels are unique, the flesh is perfect for smoking, which is why they are regarded as the best in Europe.’

An oily fish rich with omega 3, the Dutch eat more smoked eel than fresh eel. Dutch eel-smokers only smoke the fatter fish, because it tastes better. This is a typical dressing for smoked eel.

  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • Half a lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons basil, torn
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Black pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • 6 blades of chive, chopped

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