At Thanksgiving every year one of the many things I am thankful for is that Wouter makes us a simple & cozy Dutch meal. Thank you Wouter for saving me from the turkey! In an earlier post, “t(wo) for Thanksgiving , t for Tennessee”, I posted another version of this meal which has become our Nashville tradition. Wouter has cooked this for me in his Mother’s kitchen in Amsterdam and in our kitchen here in Nashville many times…this is my favorite version of all.
“Hutspot and Draadjes Vlees”, which is loosely translated by me as “Mashed Potatoes, Carrots and Onions and Falling Apart Meat” starts with simple root vegetables and a piece of good roast beef, but all are elevated to lofty heights by the time the meal is ready to eat.
2 lbs of onion chunks on the bottom of the pan topped with 2 lbs of large slices of carrots, a bit of water and a small slab of Speck (slab bacon will do) on top in one pan.
Another pan for cooking the Yukon Gold potatoes, and the third pan is for cooking the Roast Beef in browned butter. A 3 pan Thanksgiving!
Well salted & peppered, the meat is cooked until it is literally falling apart tender with Bay Leaves and Whole Cloves.
The ingredients are the same as any American kitchen brings forth for an average Sunday Dinner, but in the hands of a Dutch cook the meat & Au Jus become much more aromatic with the addition of the cloves & bay leaves all cooked in browned butter. The mashed potatoes with the addition of equal amounts of carrots and onions become more flavorful cooked with the Speck. Small differences that add up to big flavor profiles that are comforting and delicious.
Wouter's Hutspot & Draadjes Vlees or Mashed Potatoes, Carrots & Onions Cooked with Speck and Falling Apart Meat in Au Jus
- 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
- 2 lbs large carrots, peeled & thick sliced
- 2 lbs yellow onions, trimmed & cut into chunks
- 4-6 ounces Speck (or a hunk of slab bacon or prosciutto)
- Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
- Milk (for mash)
- 1/2 stick softened butter (for mash)
- 2 lbs Roast Beef meat
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 stick butter for browning meat
- Place chunked potatoes in a pan adding just enough water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until softened. Remove from heat & drain off liquid. Set aside covered.
- In a second pot layer pieces of onion topped with carrot slices. Top carrots with Speck. Pour 1.5 cups water around the vegs. Cook covered over medium heat until vegs are soft enough to mash, drain off liquid, set aside covered. Remove the Speck from the pan & shred or cut into thin slices. Set aside covered as well.
- While vegs for mash are cooking, brown butter in the 3rd pan over medium high heat. Cut meat into 3 pieces and brown in the butter, turning a few times. Turn heat to low. Sprinkle the bay leaves & whole cloves, salt & black pepper over the meat & cover. Cook for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.
- To Make the Hutspot: Using a potato masher mash the cooked potatoes, carrots & onions together leaving them a bit chunky. Stir in softened butter, salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top with the shredded/sliced Speck. Set aside covered, keeping warm until meat is ready. I put the Hutspot back in one of the veg cooking pots with the lid on and place in a warm oven.
- To Finish off the Draadjes Vlees: After cooking two hours, remove the meat from the pan to a cutting board. Slice thinly, return meat to the pan with the au jus, cover and cook for 1 more hour. At this point you will have “falling apart meat” in a flavorful Au Jus.
- To Serve: Scoop a portion of the Hutspot into the middle of a plate or shallow bowl creating a “well” for the Au Jus, Top with a few pieces of Speck. Add a portion of the cooked, sliced juicy roast beef.
Note: I often like to add a handful of arugula or baby spinach leaves to my plate that I stir into the juices and eat alongside the Hutspot & Draadjes Vlees. Rather than a heavier red wine, we usually have a crispy cold white wine with this dinner.