Dutch meatballs known as Bitterballen are a classic Dutch bar snack. Bitterballen, one of Holland’s favorite snacks, are bite-size beef and gravy croquettes usually served along with beer.
Monday Meatball Mania is back and I have something so different for you guys today, delicious Dutch meatballs known as Bitterballen! Nagi from RecipeTin Eats and I started this Meatball-a-thon at the beginning of the year. The rules are simple, one meatball recipe every last Monday of every month, and that’s it as far as rules go. Whatever crazy and tasty meatball concoctions we come up with, we’ll share with you. Anything goes.
Why meatballs? Because meatballs are great, they’re versatile, and they’re great in and on everything. You can bake them, you can fry them, you can slow cook them, you can stuff them with cheese and make them all gooey and delicious, they’re great in sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, meatballs casseroles, meatballs in soups, meatballs on pizza, I’d even put them on a salad, the sky is the limit.
Let’s talk Bitterballen! I was first introduced to these decadent little morsels last year on our trip to Quebec city. Hubs and I ordered them at a pub, not really knowing what they were but they looked like meatballs so I knew we couldn’t go wrong. They are totally different than your usual meatball, when you bite into one you get a nice crispy exterior but a soft gooey interior. Totally different but so delicious. I don’t know where they would serve them around here and that restaurant in Quebec was the only place I’ve ever seen Bitterballen which is why I decided to make them myself because I was so intrigued by them.
Bitterballen are actually Dutch meatballs, a very popular snack served at bars along with beer. Sometimes they are shaped as logs or sometimes as balls. If I were to describe what they taste like, the closet I can come up with is deep fried mushrooms. The way these meatballs are made is totally different than any other meatball recipe I’ve ever made.
You start by first making a roux with equal parts butter and flour. Beef broth/stock is added to the roux, then the rest of the ingredients such as ground beef, onion, parsley, salt and pepper and nutmeg. The mixture is going to look like a pile of goo which is why you have to refrigerate this for several hours to give the gravy time to solidify. I left mine in the fridge overnight so by next day it was totally ready, but a few hours should suffice.
You then shape them them into balls, roll them through flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs and deep fry them. You have to serve these with some spicy mustard and ketchup. They make a perfect snack and this recipe makes enough to feed a crowd. Trust me you will love these crispy bite-size balls, just dip them in the mustard and pop the whole thing in your mouth. So so good!
If you guys love this recipe, and most importantly make it yourselves, please let us know. Take a picture and tag it #jocooks on Instagram so we can see it. I always love to see what you guys come up with!
Dutch meatballs known as Bitterballen are a classic Dutch bar snack. Bitterballen, one of Holland's favorite snacks, are bite-size beef and gravy croquettes usually served along with beer.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- vegetable oil for frying
In a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted completely, add the 1 cup of flour, a bit at a time, whisking it, it will turn into a thick paste.
Slowly stir or whisk in the beef broth. Make sure you stir thoroughly, the broth should all be incorporated in the roux. The gravy should be smooth but still quite thick.
Simmer the gravy for a couple minutes then add the parsley, onion, and ground beef, stir well. Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Transfer the meat mixture to a Tupperware container and refrigerate for several hours until the gravy has solidified. I refrigerated mine overnight, but 3 or 4 hours should suffice.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In 1 plate add the flour, in another plate add the eggs and the last plate the bread crumbs.
Shape the meat mixture into 1 inch balls. Use a small ice cream scoop, it's easier to get the same quantity of meat each time. Place these meatballs on one of the prepared baking sheets.
Roll the balls first through flour, then eggs, then finally bread crumbs. Place these meatballs on the other prepared baking sheet. Once completed, place the baking sheet with the meatballs in the fridge until ready to fry.
In a large Dutch oven, skillet or deep fryer, add enough oil, I usually add about 2 inches of oil. Heat the oil up to 375 F degrees.
Fry the meatballs about 6 at a time until golden brown, should take about 4 or 5 minutes. If you have enough oil in your fryer the meatballs will float to the top when done. Continue until done with all the meatballs. In between batches you might have to clean the oil with a slotted spoon of all the leftover fried bits from the meatballs.
Serve hot with a grainy or spicy mustard.
Total time does NOT include time required to refrigerate meat mixture until solidified.
This recipe should yield roughly around 60 balls about 1 inch in diameter.
I used Panko bread crumbs here because I prefer them especially when trying to get something really crispy, but I put them in a food processor first and pulsed a few times to make them finer.
For a vegetarian option, used finely chopped mushrooms.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.