Comfort food: vegetable 'stoemp'
While we're all stuck inside, we might as well cheer ourselves up with some soothing and nourishing Belgian home-cooking in the form of a steaming pot of vegetable 'stoemp' (or mash). Goes great with fried sausages!
- This popular dish is a mixture of potato and a seasonal vegetable and comes in 3 colours: white, yellow and green. White is made from potato mixed with celeriac, parsnip, swede or salsify; yellow is made with carrot or pumpkin; and green contains broccoli, leeks, cabbage, courgette, peas, spinach or sprouts. Stoemp is made in proportions of either 60:40 if using potato and green vegetables or 50:50 if using potato and another root vegetable. As with most Belgian dishes, stoemp can be enriched with cheese, butter and cream.
- Peel and cut the floury potatoes into 1cm cubes. At the same time, fry a large, coarsely chopped onion in a knob of butter in a large saucepan until translucent. Add the diced potato, 550ml of stock, a sliced clove of garlic, and some salt and pepper. If you are making white or yellow stoemp, the vegetables should go into the pot at the same time as the potato. However, as green stoemp is made from more fragile watery vegetables, these don’t go into the pot until 15 minutes after the potatoes.
- Cover and cook on a medium-low heat for 25 minutes without stirring.
- When cooked, the contents of the pot need to be stoemped. In order to get the consistency you want – somewhere between a stew and a smooth mash – fork-squash the boiled cubes of potato and chopped vegetables, or pass them through a food-mill with large holes, or squash just once with a potato masher. Then stir with a wooden spoon to help the potatoes absorb the remaining cooking liquid. Green stoemp made from watery vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, courgette and peas in particular) benefits from having the stock removed after cooking and replacing with 80ml of milk before stoemping.
TIP: For a richer stoemp, stir in 2 egg yolks, 100ml of cream, 50g of butter or 100g of strong semi-hard cheese, such as Chimay or Herve.