Hachee is a type of stew or sauce from Holland that is based on minced or cubed meats.
Hachee is a type of stew or sauce from Holland that is based on minced or cubed meats. The Dutch have been preparing and eating this food since at least the Middle Ages in Europe. The word is of French origin; hacher means to mince, mince or grind, so hachee was adopted as a way of describing the way the meat for the dish was prepared. Today, hachee is one of the simplest and most common recipes in traditional Dutch cuisine.
Hachee features minced meat.
The exact origin of the hachee is unknown. Some people, however, theorize that it came about when people used meat they had already cooked in thick-walled cast-iron pans called Dutch ovens with some vegetables. In addition, they added liquids with high acidity, such as vinegar and wine, to the meat to make it even more tender.
The recipe is believed to have originated in North Brabant, a province in the south of the Netherlands that borders neighboring Belgium to the south. The earliest evidence of the stew’s existence can be found in descriptions of medieval European meals placed in public arenas for self-service. There is no record, however, of how hachee was made during the Middle Ages.
The typical hachee recipe involves diced or chopped meat or steak, seasoned with salt and pepper and then browned in a skillet greased with oil or butter. Sliced onions can be placed in the skillet a few moments later to brown with the meat. Flour is then added. When it too turns brown, broth is added to the mixture, followed by vinegar or wine, bay leaves, and cloves. The heat is then turned down so that the stew boils for a little over an hour.
The resulting sauce has a thick constitution and dark brown color. Hachee is typically served as a condiment with lightly fried and slow-cooked red cabbage, boiled potatoes, apples or applesauce or rice. Another food that often accompanies the stew is hutspot, Dutch for hotchpotch, or a dish consisting of boiled potatoes and mashed carrots and onions. Also of medieval origin, the hutspot’s rich past rivals that of the hachee, as it is said to have originated during France’s failed 1574 siege of the southern Dutch city of Leiden during the Eighty Years’ War.
Despite the standard ingredients for making hachee, cooks are free to swap some of them for others or make additions. For example, some people use fish or chicken instead of the usual beef. Others may add ingredients like soy sauce or raisins.