Hutspot for dinner tonight-

This is one of the best comfort dishes and it has long been a family favorite. The parsnips we have in the store right now look like food porn so of course I had to grab 3 big ones, a jumbo carrot and about 5 new potatoes.

This dish is basically a boiled veggie mash up. First you peel the parsnips and carrots and slice them so they are about 1/2 to 1/3 inch thick. I boil these together with enough water to cover plus 2 inches. The new potatoes I halve and boil in a different pot. When the potatoes are done I plunge into cold water and pop the skins off. Sometimes I leave them on it depends on my mood.

I put all of the drained veggie into one pot with a knob of butter and mash coarsely. Salt to taste. Sometimes I add Sweet potatoes or yams and or a bit of maple syrup. Another variation is to use only the potato and carrot and add kale or chard. To this variation you can add sausage or other meet if you want.

According to legend, the recipe came from the cooked bits of potato left behind by hastily departing Spanish soldiers during their siege of Leiden in 1574 during the Eighty Year's War, when the liberators breached the dikes of the lower lying polders surrounding the city. This flooded all the fields around the city with around a foot of water. As there were few, if any, high points (and September in the Netherlands is not exactly a warm month), the Spanish soldiers camping in the fields were essentially flushed out.

The anniversary of this event, known as Leidens Ontzet, is still celebrated every October 3 in Leiden and by Dutch expatriates the world over. Traditionally, the celebration includes consumption of a lot of "Hutspot met klapstuk/stooflap" (Hotchpotch with chuck roast/beef shoulder chops).

Hutspot with stooflap
The first European record of the potato is as late as 1537, by the Spanish conquistador Castellanos, and it spread quite slowly throughout Europe from thereon. So the original legend probably should refer to what the Dutch call a 'sweet potato' or pastinaak which is a parsnip; this vegetable played a similar role in Dutch cuisine prior to the use of the potato as a staple food.
During the Nazi occupation the dish came to represent freedom from oppression since its ingredients could be grown beneath the soil and thus somewhat hidden from sight, and the carrots gave the dish an orange colour, which represents the Dutch Royal Family.

The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips resemble carrots, but are paler than most of them and have a stronger flavor. Like carrots, parsnips are native to Eurasia and have been eaten there since ancient times. Zohary and Hopf note that the archeological evidence for the cultivation of the parsnip is “still rather limited,” and that Greek and Roman literary sources are a major source about its early use, but warn "there are some difficulties in distinguishing between parsnip and carrot (which, in Roman times, were white or purple) in classical writings since both vegetables seem to have been sometimes called pastinaca yet each vegetable appears to be well under cultivation in Roman times."[2] As pastinache comuni the "common" pastinaca figures in the long list of comestibles enjoyed by the Milanese given by Bonvesin de la Riva in his "Marvels of Milan" (1288). Thanks wiki for the added info!


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