Groentesoep met Hollandse Brood

February 20, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Food is an important partof my life.
One of the greatestthings about growing up was that both my father and mother enjoyed cooking, andthey were good at it.
Shot in my kitchen; Canon 7D; 18-55mm (at 42mm) lens;
ISO 200; f/5.6; 1/100 sec. I fired two flashes; one was above,
slightly behind, and to the right of the bowl with a small,
handmade beauty dish. The other was fired at a white board above
and pointing down (from camera left) at the bread.

My father learned to cookfrom his mother, who was from German stock. However, he was born and raised inNew York, so there were also a lot of influences throughout the communities helived in, socialized in and worked in. Although my father cooked a variety ofthings, one of the constants was that he cooked A LOT of it. It was as if hewas cooking for the troops every time he made something, whether it was aroast, soup, pancakes…but, with three growing boys in the home there had to beplenty of food. What wasn’t consumed right away may have been sealed in jars orfrozen, or eaten as leftovers the next day. If it was simply put in the fridge,it wouldn’t last very long.

My mother came well equippedwith a number of European dishes, having been born and raised in theNetherlands. There is such a variety of foods that come from that culture, dueto their proximity to other countries’ influences, the country having been aColonial Power and their connection to the early trade routes. My mother’s mealplan was a bit different from my father’s. My father might have cooked a coupleof large, hot meals a day, whereas my mother would be fine with some bread andcheese (perhaps some lunch meat) in the morning and then in the afternoon, butthen prepare a hearty, hot meal in the evening.
One of the common itemsin the Birdsall Kitchen was SOUP! Between the two of them, there were severaldifferent types of soup that we would enjoy. They were typically robust and itdidn’t take much to fill you.

(balletjes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, onions, tomatoes)
This is one of the soupsmy mother would make and I remember enjoying it every time. The actual name ofit could be slightly different, depending on whom you ask. It is a VegetableSoup (Groentesoep), but it also has meatballs in it (Balletjes). The Groentesoepand Balletjes Soep (Vegetable Soup with Meatballs) are made from a beef stock;whether you use bouillon cubes or boil a soup bone of some type. The vegetablescould vary, but they seem to share carrots and celery, as well as rice (I knowit’s not a vegetable, but it is a common ingredient).

My mother refers to thissoup as Groentesoep, even though they always put balletjes in it. One of thegreat things about cooking is that you can change things around to suit yourown liking. I chose not to put any rice (or fine noodles, like my mother does) inmy soup, since I had put in so many vegetables. I started by boiling a piece ofmeat, on the bone, with a couple of bouillon cubes. Once the meat was ready tofall off the bone, I took it out and added my vegetables; carrots, celery,onions (my mother does not use onions), diced tomatoes and cauliflower (putthis in later, because it cooks quickly).  While that was cooking, I was cutting up themeat and also making the balletjes (season the meat the way you would like),which are simply put in the pot and allowed to cook in the soup.
Hollandse Brood
Rolled oats, flour, honey, salt, yeast & water.
With all of the vegetables,and the meat, the soup is very satisfying; however, it was not uncommon to havebread on the table as well. A great memory of growing up was the smell of freshbread being made by my parents. I’ve wanted to do it myself, for some time, andfigured now, with the Groentesoep in the pot, was as good a time as any. Ipulled out one of my Dutch cookbooks, found a recipe for Hollandse Brood (thebook says Dutch Homemade Bread), went to the store for some ingredients and setoff to make some bread. This was a relatively simple bread (rolled oats, flour,honey, salt, yeast, water), but it was a good one for my first one.

Although there is some physical labor involvedin making the dough (all of the kneading), the toughest part is the waiting. Imixed all of the ingredients and then had to set the dough aside to rise (twohours). After that, cut into it, divide it (yielded two loaves), put it in thepans and then set it aside to rise AGAIN. Meanwhile, the smell in the house isalready creating a Pavlovian response, and I haven’t even started baking ityet. About an hour-and-a-half later, I am finally ready to put the bread in theoven…another 50 minutes…ugghhhh. I will say, the 4 ½ hours did give me plentyof time to clean the kitchen counters, the kitchen floor, the two and a halfbathrooms (including the floors and tubs) and the floor in the laundry room,with some time to rest.

When I told my olderbrother that I was making homemade bread, he said he remembered all of the timeand energy our parents put into making the bread, which we would consume in,what seemed like, ½ and hour.
By the time I was donecleaning, I was ready to eat.  The bowlof soup and two thick slices of bread were more than enough to satisfy me.

Ete Smakelijk - Good Appetite


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