Sunday 16 January 2011

Belgian food - Stoemp

Belgian food is amongst the best in the world. It's a glorious mix of earthy, fulfilling, satisfying, comforting soul food. It's mainly about taking really simple, everyday ingredients and transforming them into simple yet divine nourishment. 

Tonights dinner is stoemp. Or sausage and mash to you and me. Except stoemp is a lot more than that.

On an aside, Belgium has now been without a government for 217 days. The country is functioning just fine, a mon avis.

Mashing potatoes

Boil your potatoes as usual. While they are cooking, think about your second vegetable (*). You can use whatever is lurking down the bottom of your fridge. I used carrots tonight, but I have used and seen used: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, leeks, parsnips... Either cook these separately or chuck them in with the spuds. When they are cooked, drain the water and add a decent hunk of butter, milk and plenty of salt and pepper. Mash to your preferred consistency. This is Gods-honest home cooking, so a few lumps are not going to hurt, and no one is looking for Michelin stars here.
While all this is going on, cook your sausages. Aim for about two sausages per person, but always add one or two more just in case anyone is starving. Get the best ones you can, these are usually from your local butcher, and don't be afraid to try various flavours such as herby, spicy, cheesey, etc.

When your sausages are cooked, and if you fried them, make some gravy in the pan. I've tried, and failed to make gravy from scratch, so I use some Bisto. You could even carmelise some onions first - just make sure they are very, very tender. Tonight, I did away with the gravy and used baked beans instead. Ah bean, beans, are good for your heart ;-)

Now, time to plate up. Start with your potato and veggie mash, lie two sausages on top of the mash and pour over some gravy. Serve with a decent Belgian beer - Triple Karmelite for example.

Now, that's a dish to bridge any linguistic divide ;-)

Stoemp with baked beans

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