Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fried Balls of Deliciousness: Bitterballen and Arancini

Arancini (left) and bitterballen (right), right before kickoff at our Super Bowl party.

This is technically an Amsterdam-inspired post, although I don't have photos of the bar in Amsterdam where we tried bitterballen. In fact, there's a lot of food from Amsterdam I didn't photograph, because we ate like gluttonous kings and there isn't always good light. When I hang out with Kirk, we EAT. Our marathons have taken place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and now Amsterdam.

We had bitterballen at a bar specializing in Belgian beers. Hey, it was a bar and bitterballen is a fine example of excellent bar food. Ground beef bound with a roux and fried, so that when you bite into the crust, there's a smooth meatball underneath. The roux makes it so smooth that it's almost like a puree.

Mind you, we had beer and meatballs as an appetizer. This was at the end of a day where we brunched at an English tearoom, had raw herring, stopped at a bakery, and brought the baked goods to the cafe where we had siphon coffee (all of these things can be seen here). Then, we had beer and bitterballen, following it with dinner at Moeders.

Dinner at Moeders ("mother" in Dutch) was no light affair. We had stamppot there, which is a traditional Dutch dish containing a base of mashed potatoes.

Yes, mashed potatoes. Don't forget the sauerkraut and bacon.

After eating scones, raw fish, pastries, coffee, beer, and fried meatballs, we finished the day with a main dish of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. Kirk and I never do a day of eating half-assed. Dan, who hadn't been present for many of them, was worried about our sanity, but he ate everything. I argue that we were fueling up for all of the biking we did the next day during a transit strike.

Dan remembered the bitterballen and was looking for a reason to fry meatballs when we decided to have a Super Bowl party. Since he was already frying balls of meat, he thought adding balls of risotto (arancini) would be fun, too.

Here's the bitterballen recipe. Dan followed it to the letter, using ground beef instead of veal and beef broth for the roux. He bought Corn Flakes breadcrumbs (I kid you not, there's such a thing sold at the store), which gave the crust extra crunch. Of course, pulverizing Corn Flakes to use as breading works, too.

Here's the risotto recipe used for arancini. Dan made the risotto, cooled and refrigerated it, then rolled it into balls. Following the method for the bitterballen, he rolled the risotto balls in a little egg wash, then rolled them in Italian breadcrumbs. Fry in 2-3 inches of oil heated to 375 degrees F.

2 bites:

Darlene Horn said...

Kudos to Dan. These were delicious. I envy his deep frying skills.

Liz the Chef said...

Makes me homesick for Amsterdam - terrific recipes.

2 bites