Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hete Bliksem

 In this quest to investigate, research and write about the culinary traditions of my country, I stumble across some very interesting details. For one, I think there is nary a thing a Dutch person wouldn't add to a dish of mashed potatoes: we have mashed potatoes with carrots (hutspot), mashed potatoes with kale (boerenkool), mashed potatoes with sauerkraut, a whole array of mashed potatoes with greens and today I am making mashed potatoes with apple.

Boerenkool
The potato was first introduced in the Netherlands in the early 1600's but was not officially recognized as fit for human consumption until 1727. Since then, the country has been producing a large variety of potatoes such as Eigenheimers, Bintjes, Alphas, Irenes, Gelderse muisjes. As with other agricultural products, Holland is one of the market leaders regarding the export on potatoes.

The traditional meal in Holland consists of the Dutch trinity: meat, vegetables and spuds. Most traditionally boiled, potatoes can also be served fried or mashed. One of my favorites are pan-fried potatoes: boil some extra potatoes the day before, chill them, then slice the next day and fry in some butter in a skillet until they are golden brown and crispy. Yum!

Hete Bliksem
Today's dish is called "hete bliksem" or hot lightning. Not entirely sure what generated the name. Some say it's because the high amount of liquid in the mash: the dish stays hot longer than other types of mashed potatoes. That is true, there is no additional milk needed to mash these potatoes and apples into a smooth consistency and it does stay warm longer. Other names for this savory and sweet potato dish are "heaven and earth" referring to the source of apples (heaven) and potatoes (earth), or "thunder and lightning".

The key is to use a mixture of sweet and tart apples, 2 parts potato, 1 part apple. Jonagolds, Braeburns and Jonathans will do well by themselves as they possess both flavors.

Hete Bliksem
8 large potatoes
4 apples (2 sweet, 2 tart)
4 slices of salted pork

Peel and cube the potatoes and place them in a pan with just enough water to cover them. Peel and core the apples, cut in halves and place on top of the potatoes, top with the slices of salt pork. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for twenty minutes or until potatoes are done. Remove the pork, pour off the water (save some) and mash the apples and potatoes to your liking, lumpy or smooth. If it's too dry, add a tablespoon at a time of the cooking liquid. Taste. Adjust with salt and pepper if needed.

Slice the pork in narrow strips, mix in with the mashed potatoes and serve. Good with a lick of mustard.


5 comments:

  1. A good friend has given us the secret of adding root vegetables like carrots, and some vinegar, to mashed potatoes. She calls it (spelled phonetically): Pruck'-keys. I usually spell it so that it looks like a "typical Dutch word" ("Prukkijes"). I have yet to be able to find anything about this word on the internet...can you shed any light on the word or the food?

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    Replies
    1. That could be 'prakkies'; or a 'prakje' (prakken is to coarsely mash potatoes/carrots etc.)

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  2. Nicole, I forgot to add...Prukkijes are very similar to Hutspot, but with vinegar. My friend says the word means a mixture or mish mosh of stuff, if that helps.
    Cheers,

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  3. Thomae, welcome to the blog! Your friend is referring to the culinary practice of "prakken", a customary habit that is often practiced at home, but frowned upon in higher circles or when eating out. "Prakken" means to mash something, such as potatoes and vegetables. Mashed food therefore is called "prakje" or "prakkie", depending on where your friend is from. The addition of vinegar to mashed potatoes is not traditional, but may be a regional variation or even a family custom. I am preparing a short article on the practice of "prakken" and will post it in the next few days. Hope this helps!

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