These next few weeks we’re heading to Holland – land of tulips, wooden shoes, windmills, and Amsterdam. Admittedly we don’t know much about Holland but we do have a bit in our ancestry somewhere along the line. So tonight we’re going to dive in and get in touch with some of our roots. On the menu some traditional Dutch fare: Jachtschotel(Hunter’s Dish) served with Poached Pears.
We began the meal prep around 3 p.m. as it takes approximately 2-1/2 hours to complete the entire meal. The first step involves making a stew, while boiling the potatoes. Mr. N got to try his hand at chopping the onion (with some close supervision of course!) and Miss A measured out the butter (and sampled a fair bit of it too!). The first step was to saute the butter and onions and then brown the chunks of stewing beef. Once browned we added the wine and spices and set aside to simmer for an hour stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, Miss A helped Daddy peel the potatoes and get them boiling for around 30 minutes. We also cored and sliced the apples that will then be added to the dish.
Once the prep was complete we layered the potatoes, stew and apples into the baking dish and covered it with one more layer of potatoes and apples, topped it with butter and added a few bread crumbs to the top. Then it was time to bake.
While the Jachtschotel was baking we started the Poached Pears. We used 8 peeled pears (stems in tact), cut off the bottoms to make a flat base and placed them in cooking pots. The original recipe calls for a bottle of red wine to be poured over the pears in the pot. We followed the recipe for one set of pears and used grape juice for the kids pears. The pears simmer in the wine/juice with spices for approximately an hour.
When dinner was ready we drizzled honey over the pears and sat down for our Dutch dinner. Not being much of a meat-eater I was nervous about this dish and quite frankly not really looking forward to it, but I figured when in Rome (or Holland)…I have to say I was really surprised by the result. It was much better than I anticipated and full of flavor. It seemed as though each bite of the Jachtschotel had hints of different seasonings. Mr. N and Miss A even gave it their best shot. While the results were mixed – they weren’t big fans of the beef, they both ate up their mashed potatoes – a major shocker as neither of them likes mashed potatoes at all! As for the Poached Pears – they were a hit all around! So light and flavorful – and if we could capture the aroma for the blog we would. It was delightful – cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg…mmmm. As for the spoons for tonight’s dinner the Jachtschotel came in at 2,2,3,2 for Dad, Mom, Mr. N and Miss A. The Pears did a bit better with our crew coming in with 3,3,4 and 4 spoons respectively. (And as an aside – the pears cooked in wine tasted almost identical to those cooked in grape juice.)
We’re going to hang out in Holland for one more week of our cooking adventures. Next week we’ll give a few more traditional dishes a try – and no, we’re not making Amsterdam brownies! 😉