Hutspot
(One Dish Meal - Hotchpotch)

Ingredients - 4 servings

4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds lean beef
3 medium onion, cut into rings
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons butter
freshly ground black pepper

Amounts are approximate and proportions can be adjusted to suit particular tastes.


Directions
Bring the water to the boil.
Add the salt and beef, cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hours.
Add the vegetables and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove the meat from the pan and keep warm.
Drain and mash the vegetables.
Add the butter, pepper and more salt, if necessary, and mix well.
Place the mashed vegetables on a serving platter.
Slice the meat and arrange on top.



This recipe has a nice story attached to it:
In the Netherlands, Leiden is famous for its university and for its history.

Most notable is the brave defense by its inhabitants during a siege by the Spanish army (early in the Sixteenth Century the Netherlands became part of the Spanish empire).

After the fall of Haarlem in 1573 Leiden grew in strategic importance and consequently the Spaniards inaded the Rhineland. On 31 October 1573 the Spanish general Valdez began his siege of the city. This was a new tactic; no longer the city was attacked at the cost of many lives, but the inhabitants were starved during a prolonged siege.

William the Silent sent troops from the south to lure the Spaniards away. Successfully: on 21 March 1574 Valdez broke off the siege and left. No one considered the possibility of the general returning in the night of 25 May, and it turned out the city's magistrates had insufficient food in stock. Aside from hunger the city was also hit by the plague in July.

On 30 July the States of Holland decided to break the dykes in the surrounding area to flood the country, but the water rose too slowly. Meanwhile, Valdez tried to lure the citiziens into surrender with promises. Part of the city council was interested, but eventually it was decided to stick it out. Inhabitants ate cats, dogs and rats. Sometimes, as a silent protest, a corpse was put on the doorstep of Mayor Van der Werf.

 
Statue of Mayor Van der Werf
The red keys are part of the city's coat of arms

On 18 September the weather grew worse and the water began to rise. The irregular army of the Prince of Orange arrived from the south. On 3 October the citizens prepared an attack. They were surprised about the silence on the other side of the wall and sent a young boy, Cornelis Joppensz, to find out what was going on. It turned out the Spaniards had fled. In the deserted Spanish camps - according to the legendary story - Cornelis Joppensz found a cooking pot with a mix of vegetables and meat, which he took back to the city.
The Dutch army entered the city with food: bread with cheese and herring.
Nowadays 3 October is a local holiday with many festivities.

 

Until this day many citizins of Leiden eat Hutspot at 3 October, although the contemporary hutspot consists of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe above.

Why do I mention this? *g* Leiden is the town where I was born, and my heart is still there!




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Thank you, Tea!


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