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Smoked chicken and Dutch food - a David challenge

It's Friday, it's still a bit dull, though I did manage to get in a walk today, and I'm just a bit bored, so I told David he could have a 'special meal' today. At the time he was eating some Dutch smoked cheese, which I have to say I really don't like, and so he said 'smoked' and/or Dutch. Ok I thought - I could do that. Surely the Dutch do something with smoked fish at least.

Well yes indeed they do.

The above what is called a Dutch baby, or sometimes a Dutch baby pancake. This one is Smoked salmon and dill Dutch baby from My Foodbook. They call it a pancake but to my British eyes it looks like a Yorkshire pudding to me - and indeed it sort of is. It's even cooked in the oven. I saw lots of different recipes which used different kinds of flours, but I suspect the original was made with either a wholemeal flour or even a buckwheat one, so perhaps a bit heavier than a Yorkshire pudding. It's actually most usual served as a dessert - like crepes - when the dough is sweetened and sometimes served with fruit on top. Maybe I should make one for dessert, with poached pears on top. I was just going to reuse the poaching liquid from last week and poach a couple of pears. No I suspect you're not supposed to put anything liquid on it, and I don't really think David is a fan of Yorkshire pudding - or pancakes. I think he'd prefer pears with chocolate sauce. Besides I don't have a lot of milk.

Even the savoury versions of the Dutch baby seem to keep to dry things like smoked fish - I found lots of versions like that. Here are two: Savory dutch baby with smoked salmon and cream cheese from Eating Well and Dutch pancakes with smoked trout, leek and sour cream from My Foodbook. You cook the Dutch baby in the oven until it's crispy and risen at the edges, and then you just plonk your cold toppings on it. It might do well on a café brunch menu perhaps, but I'm really not sure.

The British have never thought of dolloping cold stuff on top of their Yorkshire puddings. The most adventurous thing they do is Toad-in-the-hole, which is sausages cooked in a Yorkshire pudding - and yes they might dollop some gravy on top. But they don't seem to have thought of this approach.

Having decided that this was not a goer, I looked at what else the Dutch eat. They're not famous for their food are they? There's a soup - but we had soup yesterday. Now this looks quite delectable to me and very suitable for a wintry day. It's called Dutch stampot and this particular version is from a website called Panning the Globe. But it won't do, because it's basically mash mixed with kale in this case, but it could be anything, topped with a sausage called rookwurst. David hates mash with a passion. I have had rookwurst before and didn't know that it was Dutch so I did think I could do a sausage and sauerkraut thing. Surely the Dutch eat sauerkraut too. There are a few other dishes. I might look into them some time, but if you want to get an idea you could look at this list of the Top 10 Dutch foods on a website called Expatica.

Anyway I decided to go off to the shops and see if I could find some rookwurst, just so I could be Dutch. Failing that I thought of smoked chicken which we had not had for a very long time. Of course there is ham - that's smoked too - and lots of other sausages, but I wanted to do something different. And then I thought of smoked chicken which we have not had for a long time and after a quick check I found that Woolworths had some, but Coles alas did not. And failing both the rookwurst or the smoked chicken there is always smoked trout.

To cut a long story short - I eventually found the smoked chicken - not shelved with the chicken but shelved with the ham. I had to ask. I picked up a smoked trout - always useful, but no rookwurst in Woolworths so I went to Aldi - which was shockingly cheaper on such things as carrots and bananas, but had no rookwurst. But I didn't come back empty handed - they also had flour and sugar which I needed and which Woolworths seemed to have run out of - cheap celery and - in typical Aldi shopping fashion - I exited with two new cookpots - a small saucepan/casserole and a small frying pan.

So then began the search for a suitable smoked chicken recipe. If it was summer I would make a salad - it's best use really I think. There are dozens and dozens of recipes - here are two: Caesar salad from Barossa Foods and one from Jill Dupleix - Smoked chicken mieng kum. If it had been warmer I might have made her chicken Caesar Salad which has become a family favourite, but with the smoked chicken. Not what you feel like eating on a cold and wet wintry day though.

Fundamentally you can do almost anything with smoked chicken from toasties to pasta. Here are some of the more tempting examples I found: Smoked chicken quiche from Yum; Smoked chicken, spinach and feta galette from Food Lovers - I was tempted by this one; Smoked chicken linguine from Good Food; Smoked chicken pasta with parsley pesto and peas from Barossa Foods - I think this is the winner - and then two that are not appropriate for dinner but good as snacks Smoked chicken and chive toastie from Donna Hay and Quick chicken, brie and cranberry canapés from Taste. There are risottos, pies, endless pasta variations and scores of tarts. So you can do a lot with it.

So pasta it is. I think I'm going for the one with peas, but I did pick up some mushrooms from Aldi too so maybe the other one? Decisions, decisions.

If you can't find smoked chicken in your local supermarket - and I do recommend that you try because it is utterly delicious, then you can smoke your own. The Americans are big into this and there are lots of recipes for their version, which I'm guessing is rather more heavily spiced than what you will get in the supermarket - and nothing wrong with that. The Meat Eating Military Man website (a bit off-putting as a name I have to say) has a pretty comprehensive guide and recipe for Smoked whole chicken. However I think you could adapt it using a Weber following the Kitchen | Pit instructions for Smoking in a Weber. Not that I'm going to be trying that anytime soon. Those little canapés look good though. There were a few recipes that used brie and cranberry with the smoked chicken - the quiche for just one.

I still don't think I'm that impressed with Dutch cuisine - other than their cheeses - not the smoked one - which I love. But like the British, maybe they have been underestimated. I should look into it some time.


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