No, we don’t mean splitting the bill, but sharing a hearty dish typical of what you might enjoy aboard a Vantage European river cruise through the Netherlands. “Dutch cooking” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the world’s legendary cuisines, but travelers who’ve cruised with us through Holland have come away with a new-found appreciation for this comfort food with a capital “C.”
Here, we asked the Executive Chef of our deluxe ms River Discovery II to share one the most-requested recipes from his Netherlands repertoire. He chose Edammer Bloemkool, a typical but delicious dish that uses fresh local ingredients that are abundant throughout Holland as well as the U.S. (In Holland, by the way, potatoes are eaten at almost every meal…) We paired Predrag’s recipe with one for Dutch Hâchée, a simple, tart stew similar to German sauerbraten that has been a favorite since the Middle Ages, and which our European river cruise travelers still enjoy. Eet smakelijk — Enjoy your meal!
Edammer Bloemkool (Cauliflower Gratinée)
½ pound butter
1 1/4 cups flour
1 quart (32 ounces) whole milk
12 ounces Edam cheese, shredded
4-5 medium new potatoes
Set oven to 350°F
- Wash and peel potatoes, then cut width-wise into ¼-inch slices. Pat dry.
- Spread potato slices on a greased baking tin, add salt and pepper.
- Roast for 25 minutes, flipping once, till golden. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- While potatoes are roasting, rinse and trim cauliflower into florets.
- Blanche florets in boiling salted water till they begin to cook but are still firm. Drain cauliflower, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- Make a béchamel sauce by melting butter in saucepan. When it bubbles, add flour and stir constantly, forming a smooth roux.
- Add milk to roux 1 cup at a time, stirring all the while till sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat for about 30 seconds to let bubbling stop; add cheese bit by bit, stirring to blend. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
- Layer roasted potatoes along bottom of a buttered glass baking dish (approx. 9×13 inches.)
10. Add blanched cauliflower on top of potatoes.
11. Cover with béchamel sauce.
12. Bake in oven at 350°F until top is bubbly and golden (about 15 minutes).
Dutch Hâchée (Beef Stew)
4 Tbs butter
3 medium onions, roughly chopped
¼ cup flour
4 cups beef stock (canned or homemade)
3 Bay leaves
3 whole cloves
4 whole juniper berries
4 Tbs cider vinegar
Dash of cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
- Lightly dredge meat with some of the flour, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven or heavy nonstick pot. When it begins to bubble, add beef cubes and brown.
- Turn down heat slightly and add chopped onions, cooking till translucent.
- Cover with remaining flour and stir; then slowly add beef stock (beef should be covered with liquid.)
- Add wine, cider vinegar, bay leaf, peppercorns, juniper berries, cinnamon, and cloves; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and let cook for about two hours.
- When done remove meat to a platter. Adjust sauce to taste by adding vinegar, salt, or pepper as needed. Add meat back into sauce and serve.