NETHERLANDS- Stamppot Boerenkool

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Tonight marks my penultimate World Cup Dinner, and I’ve saved the Dutch meal of Stamppot Boerenkool to mark their third place playoff match with hosts Brazil. I’ve even dressed for the occasion with a fantastic replica of the 1978 Netherlands shirt from the brilliant range at Toffs, a UK company specialising in replicas of historic kits!

The Netherlands are probably the greatest footballing nation to have never won the World Cup, having reached the final on three occasions, in 2010, 1978, and with perhaps their best side of all in 1974.

That tournament, held in West Germany, was when Dutch coach Reinus Michels introduced his revolutionary Totaalvoetbal, or Total Football, to the international stage. The tactical system which relied on his players interchanging positions, fluid movement, and spatial awareness, had led his club side Ajax to three consecutive European Cup triumphs in 1971, 1972, and 1973.

The Oranje, led by talismanic Johann Cruyff, proceeded to the final of the tournament in Munich, where they would face hosts West Germany. They got off to a flying start too- Cruyff kicked off, and the Dutch passed the ball thirteen times with no German reply, before winning a penalty which midfielder Johan Neeskens converted to send his side ahead after only 2 minutes. It seemed like the Dutch were about to fulfil their footballing destiny, but the Germans rallied, stifling Cruyff’s playmaking influence with tight marking, which allowed them back into the game, and an eventual 2-1 win thanks to a penalty and Gerd Muller goal.

Stamppot is the generic term for a traditional Dutch dish made with mashed potatoes, cabbage, onions and bacon, and in the version I’m making- Boerenkool- smoked sausage. The smoked sausage and bacon add a really nice savoury flavour that goes brilliantly with the creamy mash!

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INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
5-6 medium potatoes- variety suitable for mashing
1/2 cabbage, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 slices thick bacon, cut into cubes
1 onion
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 smoked sausage
1 tbs olive oil
50ml milk
2 tbs butter

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Peel and quarter the potatoes.
2. Add the potatoes and bay leaf to a large pan of boiling water. Add a pinch of salt.
3. Cover pan and boil for 25 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
4. Drain half the water from the potatoes and remove the bay leaves.
5. Add the cabbage, and smoked sausage (kept in its plastic seal)
6. Cover pan again, and boil the mix for a further 8 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the bacon and onions and fry until they begin to brown.
9. Remove the pot with vegetables from heat, remove sausage, and drain.
10. Add the bacon and onion, milk, butter, and a good measure of salt and pepper to taste.
11. Mash until creamy texture is achieved.

Serve with sliced smoked sausage on top of the mash.

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