In Holland, a night out on the town, or a social event with coworkers, usually starts out at a local café, with a beer and something called a "bittergarnituur". The word translates as the slightly confusing "garnish for bitters", where bitters in this case refers to alcoholic beverages. The Dutch were one of the first to dedicate themselves to perfecting the distillation process, presenting the world with spirits such as Dutch gin (jenever) and a large variety of liqueurs and bitters, these last ones presumably with medicinal properties. Nowadays, one of the most famous drinks is Ketel One, a Dutch vodka that is especially popular in the United States.
Alcohol is traditionally consumed with something savory on the side, and thus the bittergarnituur was invented. This colorful platter will usually contain bite-size cubes of Gouda cheese, miniature eggrolls and meatballs, perhaps some slices of salami or chorizo and ofcourse, how can it not, the marvelous bitterballen.
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of flour
3 cups of beef stock
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, minced
2 cups of shredded cooked beef
For the breading
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of bread crumbs
Make a roux with the butter and the flour (slowly melt the butter in a skillet or pan. When melted, add the flour little by little and stir into a thick paste). Slowly stir in the stock, making sure the roux absorbs the liquid. Simmer for a couple of minutes on a low heat while you stir in the onion, parsley and the shredded beef. Taste, add pepper and salt and a pinch of nutmeg. Taste again and adjust if necesssary.
Pour the meat gravy into a shallow container, cover and refrigerate for several hours, or until the gravy has solidified.
Fry five to six balls at a time, until golden brown. Serve on a plate with a nice grainy or spicy mustard.
Makes approximately 20 bitterballen.