Hans & Frans, this one is for you! Bitterballen
First, let me clear one thing up.. bitterballen are not bitter.
These are small, round, deep-fried meat croquettes, called bitterballen because they used to be the accompaniment to a herbal liquer called bittertje
These days, a plate of bitterballen, liversausage, cheese and mustard is still called a bittergarnituur
, (garnishes for your bitter), no matter what you drink it with.
Kroketten are sausage-shaped and a favorite sandwichfilling, bitterballen are made from exactly the same mix only smaller and round. I can tell you that on a fridayafternoon, after work, nothing is nicer than going to a bar, ordering a large cold beer and half a dozen of bitterballen with mustard, and start the weekend!
Kroketten and bitterballen both fall into the fastfood category these days and I don't know anyone who makes them from scratch. You can buy highquality ones frozen, and fry them at home, or just eat them out - which is what most people do.
But for who-ever wants to try to make these themselves, here's what I did today..
Ingredients for the ragout
(this recipe will yield about 4 croquettes or 12 bitterballen.)
200 grams of cooked meat. I used a mix of beef and veal because that's what I had. You can chop it up very fine or leave a bit more texture if you prefer.
200 ml. good flavoured stock
30 grams butter
30 grams flour
1 eggyolk (keep the white)
a pinch of mace
pinch of grated nutmeg
parsley or celery
salt and pepper
a little bit of lemon juice.
Make a white sauce from the flour, butter and stock. Flavour with mace and nutmeg and cook for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth and shiny sauce.
To this add the meat, parsley or celery, lemon juice, and eggyolk. Season very generously with salt and pepper. Keep tasting. The deepfried endresult will be blander than what you taste right now, se you should overseason somewhat.
Spread this on a plate or in a shallow dish and put in the fridge for a couple of hours until really firm. I know, this does not look very appetizing..
When you are ready to deepfry, heat your oil (I used sunfloweroil) in a pan. I used a fairly small pan because I did not want to fry too many at once (you don't want to stir them about too much or they might crack), and I was only frying up half a dozen. This way you also need less oil. The deep-fried balls will keep warm in a low oven fro a while as you fry the rest.
For the breading you need:
the reserved eggwhite and 1 egg, beaten together
a plate with flour
a plate with breadcrumbs (about 300 grams)
Now comes the messy part. (thanks Dennis for taking the picture)
Take tablespoons of the meat mix and form a round ball. Dip very lightly in flour. Dip in egg. Make sure it's very well coated. Coat with breadcrumbs. Dip in egg again, and coat with crumbs again. So for each ball it's flour - egg - crumbs - egg- crumbs.
they should look like this:
Deepfry. I don't have a thermometer for this so I can't give an exact temperature... The oil should not be too hot ofcourse or the crumbs will burn before the inside is hot.
These were fried for about 4 minutes each. Serve with mustard, and a cold beer.. very good!
Final verdict: they were very good but we both thought they were blander than what we are used to from commercially made bitterballen and kroketten. It could be I underseasoned them, it could also be that some extra flavorings (I'm thinking maybe a bit of shallot or onion in the sauce, or some thyme ) would have added that extra flavor. But we also thought it was great to taste such a pure version of this classic, where the flavor of the meat really comes through, instead of just salt and artificial flavourings. And probably the commercially made ones are extra salty to keep the people in bars ordering beers..
Edited by Chufi, 30 October 2005 - 05:50 AM.