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Printed From: Foods of the World Forum
Category: Europe
Forum Name: The Low Countries
Forum Discription: Belgium and the Netherlands.
Printed Date: 08 August 2020 at 20:29

Topic: Zurkelpatatjes
Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Subject: Zurkelpatatjes
Date Posted: 05 September 2018 at 12:49

I received this from a friend in Belgium and had to share; it looks very easy and delicious!

Quote This has been a very hot summer; never ever did I have such a nice patch of sorrel.

I have mentioned sorrel before; it was frequently used many years ago in typical Flemish dishes such as stampers, but also in a quintessential Flemish dish using eel. This dish is better known in culinary circles by its French name, anguilles au vert, meaning eel in green; in Flemish, the name is paling in’t groen.

There’s also a very good Flemish potato dish using a lot of fresh sorrel, potato and bacon; it has a tart and fresh taste and is a great use of the green. The dish is called zurkelpatatjes, and it is mostly served with pork. Zurkel is sorrel and you may have guessed that patatjes are small potatoes. Patatjes is in fact kind of a pet-name for potatoes; officially, we use the name aardappelen for potatoes instead of patat. It kind of shows how much zurkelpatatjes are cherished.

Curiously enough, in my part of the already tiny Flanders region, we don’t know that dish well, so I Googled some recipes and they were all very different. Some wilt the sorrel first like spinach, others add it raw to boiled potatoes. I learned that blanching is out; sorrel loses most of its taste in water. That’s why potato water is never used to thin the potato mix, milk is an absolute must. Another important fact is tht sorrel discolours very fast when heated, from fresh green into an ugly khaki colour, so that is something to keep in mind.

Today, I made zurkelpatatjes with sorrel and bacon. I served them with breaded red snapper and beurre noisette (hazelnut butter). Following is how I made it; this is not complicated at all, but does take a bit of work.

First thing to do is to boil potatoes. I used 4 medium-sized peeled potatoes, around 2.5 to 3 pounds.

I proceeded with harvesting two large handfuls of sorrel leaves from my garden; I then washed them and ripped out the stalks, exactly how you would prepare spinach.

To prepare this, I cut raw, streaky bacon - slices of raw pork belly - into bite-sized chunks and dried them in paper towel before pan-frying them over a medium fire, seasoning well. When nicely browned, I added two thirds of the roughly chopped sorrel to wilt quickly in a few minutes, then set aside.

Next, crush the drained potatoes, then add the bacon/sorrel mixture, a nice chunk of butter and some milk; just enough to loosen it all a little.

For the beurre noisette, melt a nice chunk of really good butter in a sauteuse on medium fire. Let it brown as far as you dare, but, without burning it. Making a beurre noisette is a bit tricky. Many times I end up with undercooking the butter, which gives nothing more than melted butter. Cook it on medium low until it starts to darken, go a bit further when it starts to smoke and smell nutty. When cooked long enough - right on the border when it will burn - you get this dark noisette or hazelnut butter, totally different than melted butter. That’s when it’s ready. It is so good with all kinds of stoemp and other potato dishes. Set it aside but keep it warm.

The fish was first dipped in a beaten egg that was loosened with a few tablespoons of Grimbergen blonde beer, then dipped in breadcrumbs that were mixed with dried dill, lots of salt and white pepper. Panfry the fish until done - easy!

Just before serving the dish, I added the left-over raw sorrel, two tablespoons of sour cream, some seasoning and a last bit of milk to the zurkelpatatjes.

The picture explains how I plated it:

Incredible how the hazelnut butter and potatoes work together! There’s a distinct sorrel taste but the tart taste of sorrel stays in the background. One word: delicious!

This dish is usually served with pork meat like sausage or pork chops, but I do believe that using fish instead is absolutely fantastic!

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Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 05 September 2018 at 14:52
Just a quick note on this: for those who do not have sorrel available (like me), I did some looking around; according to "the interwebs," spinach makes a fair substitute for sorrel, with a little lemon juice added in order to add some acidity that the sorrel would normally have.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 05 September 2018 at 22:01
Although lemon will work, Ron, I'd suggest Melissa (lemon balm). That would add the citrusy flavor to the spinach, and maintain the herbiness of the dish at the same time.

Hmmmmm? Is "herbiness" a word?

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 06 September 2018 at 08:37
Excellent idea, Brook - and yes, I would say that "herbiness" is indeed a word!

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Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 07 September 2018 at 08:43
All around the world, it is wise to re-heat and re-use leftovers, in nearly every circumstance. This dish is no exception, as my friend did a little experimenting with his leftover Zurkelpatatjes:

Quote I had some zurkelpatatjes left-over. Let’s go a little creative with what we got and learned recently.

I made them more or less colcannon style. Add some good butter to a non-stick pan, aiming for medium heat; no oil, no margarine, only butter will do, think delicious Irish Kerry Gold butter, available everywhere from Timbooktoo to Tootimbook.

When starting to heat, add potatoes and spread open. Swirl the pan gently but regularly to prevent from sticking. When done, slide the potato cake on a plate without flipping it. Turn the pan upside down to cover the cake on the plate and flip in one very decisive move, think Spanish tortilla.

Keep frying and swirling this flip side on medium heat until done.

Slide on your plate and eat.

This was served with a slice of pork shoulder meat, bone still in. Probably one of the cheapest cuts of meat around here, perfect match with zurkelpatatjes! Fried in butter with added sage leaves and lots of black pepper.

That went well too.

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Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 07 September 2018 at 16:05


This looks absolutely amazingly fabulous .. 

I definitely shall be preparing this sorrel or spinach  dish ..  

I would serve this with fish, as in the original récipe,  a wild  cod or wild  grouper filet  and use French 82% butter or Asturan, Spanish 82% butter definitely. 

Thank you so much for posting it .. 

***  Truly nice photographs too ..   

Have a lovely weekend .. 

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

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