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Serves 1 - 15 Pieces

Great Dutch fast food with beer and friends.

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  • For the Bitterballen
  • 4 tbs Salted Butter
  • A few drops of oil (sunflower is great)
  • 1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 small carrot, fine chopped
  • 400 g Casserole beef (brisket or shin is very good)
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp of finely chopped thyme
  • 750 ml chicken stock
  • 350 ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs ketjap manis (optional)
  • 75g Plain flour + extra for
  • 5 eggs
  • Bread crumbs (coating balls)
  • 1 Litre oil to use to fry the bitterballen (vegetable, groundnut or sunflower)
  • For the Serving Sauce
  • Mayonaise
  • Wholegrain mustard


    1. DAY 1 - To begin add a tablespoon of butter and a little sunflower oil to a large pot and brown the meat. Once browned remove and set aside. Now reduce the heat and fry the chopped onion and carrot until it browns a little. Add more butter to the pan if needed to fry the onions. Add in the thyme and the crushed garlic and stir together. Return the meat to the pan and move onto step 2.
    2. Add the stock, milk and the bay leaf and bring to the boil and then let it simmer about 4-5 hours, casserole in the oven at 160C; medium heat on a slow-cooker, or 2 hours minutes in a pressure cooker (my preference). The important thing is to do some research and cook the meet the best way for the cut you have, just ask your butcher. When the meat pulls apart easily, it is done.
    3. Once the meat is falling apart nicely turn off the stove and strain the liquid - making sure to save it in a separate bowl - and place the meat in a large dish. Reduce the sauce down to concentrate the flavours. Rough guide, reduce by 1/4. Remember, if you use a slow cooker more will need to be reduced as less water is lost during cooking. Put the meat and onions through a mincer, or pull apart with folks.
    4. Place 3 tablespoons of butter in a fry pan and melt. Add in 75 g of plain flour and combine. Whisk in the reduced liquid (about 450 ml) and continue until the mixture is beautifully smooth and very thick. There is no exact recipe at this point, but think glue consistency. If your bitterballen are too runny when you cook them, just remember to add more roux (flour & butter) next time to make a thicker sauce. Remember, everyone likes food different, so find how you like it best!
    5. Add this sauce to the meat and combine, along with 1 tablespoon of the ketjap manis (optional). You will probably want to add in salt. Don't be too shy here, so far only the butter has contained salt, so be bold, but don't go over the top. Some recipes advocate adding in things such as parsley so feel free to add this or nutmeg if you enjoy the added flavour. Again, dont be scared to taste and adjust until your happy. Pepper is a great addition too here, and Worcestershire Source might be good. Make sure the mixture is evenly spread out in the dish and then cover the dish in cling wrap and put in the fridge overnight.
    6. DAY 2 - By this point your mixture should be well and truly firm - but if it is not, don't stress, it is still not so hard to roll them into balls if it is a little soft - just put a little flour on yours hands first.
    7. Start a production line - put some plain flour on a plate, whisk some eggs in a bowl next to it, cover another plate in breadcrumbs and finally an empty container in which to place the finished bitterballen.
    8. Use a spoon to take small amounts of the mixture and roll them into balls (think golf ball sized) - cover them first in flour, then dip them in the eggs, then cover them evenly in bread crumbs, dip them again in the eggs and again in the breadcrumbs. Make sure the bitterballen are properly coated and that the breadcrumb does not have cracks or they could fall apart when you fry them. Repeat for the remaning filling - you should get around 20. Then placed the finished bitterballen in the fridge until you are ready to cook them - you could also freeze any additional ones for another day.
    9. To cook these tasty bites, use a little deep fryer like this one, or a heavy saucepan filled one third of the way up with the vegetable oil and heated to around 180 degrees Celsius. Fry the balls until they are golden brown and then transfer them to a paper towel covered plate to take off excess oil.
    10. Mix the mustard and mayonaise together to make a Dutch sauce which is just perfect to dip these bites into. Enjoy while they are still nice and warm. These go great with a potato wedges or crispy chips and a mixed salad with yoghurt dressing.

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