Christmas feast? Try the one 'iron Briek' would approve of...

Hoi Flahutes!  Busy day today, culminating with a huge annual family and friends open house Christmas Eve feast tonight at chez Eddy.

My wife has as usual ensured they'll be lots to eat, and plenty of sweets to be mostly avoided.  Zwaar karakter test, is Christmas for cyclists.

Pity there won't be a Vlaamse Hutsepot - the preferred dish of Briek Schotte.
It's basically a Flemish 'Hodgepodge' a meat stew of ham, bacon, pork, pig tail, eel.  Goes nice with a dark Trappiste ale, or even better yet, a west flanders red sour ale like a Rodenbach.   Brewery Ommegang from New York has a version call ZUUR.  

As my good friend Darren likes to say, the best vegetable to have with this dish is...more meat!   Don't worry, there are some turnips, potatoes, leeks and onions.  Check out the recipe here at the Centruum Ronde van Vlaanderen site.  This is true stick to your ribs sustenance guranteed to get you through a 4 hour winter ride.

Belgian TV channel CANVAS did a feature on how to prepare it at the top of the Muur during the Ronde as part of their Plat Prefere cooking show, featuring a guy who looks like a Flemish version of Bobby Flay.   Looks like quite the project...check out the video here.

Fun stuff.  I especially like the part where he serves an egg in a stout (reportedly Briek's standaard pre-training breakfast) to one of the onlookers who chugs it right down in the approved vlaamse manner.  Reminds me that my grandfather used to do the same, crack a raw egg in a stout.  Breakfast of champions jongen!

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