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Jachtschotel (Hunter's Dish)

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Jachtschotel (Hunter's Dish)

Jachtschotel (Hunter's Dish)

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
I recently had to go away to Belgium for a food conference and to stop my husband, who can't cook, from eating those junky microwave meals he lived on before I came along, I made him up a batch of his favorite Dutch casserole, jachtschotel. I dare say he didn't even miss me!

I like to serve this old-fashioned hunter's stew with traditional Dutch sides, such as apple sauce, grandmother's red cabbage, green beans with almonds or pears poached in red wine.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (100 g)
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 3/4 lb stewing beef (800 g), cut into 1"/2.5cm chunks
  • 1/2 cup red wine (120 ml)
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 lb floury potatoes (1 kg)
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard, e.g. Zaanse mosterd
  • 1 cup warm milk (250 ml)
  • 4 large sweet-sour apples, e.g. Jonagold

Preparation:

Grease an oven dish and set aside. Warm half the butter in a Dutch oven and sautée the onions for a few minutes until soft and glazed.

Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add the wine, spices and seasonings. Lower the heat to medium low and cook for one hour with a tilted lid (to allow some steam to escape), stirring occasionally. When done, remove the cloves, juniper berries and bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning, if required.

In a large pot, boil the potatoes in plenty of water until soft (about 30 minutes). Drain, shake and dry with kitchen towels before mashing with a potato masher or ricer. Working quickly, add half of the remaining butter, milk and mustard, using the masher to combine. Season to taste.

Preheat the oven to 392 degrees F (200 degrees C). Wash, core and finely slice the apples, reserving the prettiest slices for the top layer.

Now start start layering the oven dish with mashed potato, stew and the apples. Start with a layer of mashed potato, followed by the meat and finish with a layer of the apple slices. There should be enough for at least two layers of each. Dot the remaining butter over the top. Place the oven dish on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.

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