Dutch Food Calendar in November

In November the DUTCH FOOD Calendar presents bitterballen. The calendar is inspired by the The vision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands, September 2018.

Dutch Food Calendar - Bitterballen

Bitterballs / Bitterballen

How to even begin to explain a bitterbal? Imagine a croquette, but small and round. The literal translation would be "bitter balls," but don’t worry, the taste is in no way bitter or harsh. Their name comes from the tradition of serving them with bitters, strong alcoholic bitter drinks such as jenever – Dutch gin. In reality however they are nowadays more often served as a beer snack, usually with some mustard on the side. You can order them in any Dutch café, on its own as well as part of a selection of fried finger foods, called bittergarnituur. Clinically speaking you could describe them as balls of deep fried ragout. 

But really, they are so much more than that. More than any other food, this meat snack is associated with the typical Dutch ‘gezelligheid’ you might have heard of. This vague notion of fun, cosiness and togetherness that defies translation. You can find gezelligheid at a typical Dutch birthday party, where everybody sits around in a circle of chairs, drinking coffee and tea from 14h till 17h. A colleague can be gezellig or, if he goes off to lunch on his own, particularly ongezellig. The way you decorated your apartment should be gezellig. And when you share bitterballs with someone over a beer and it’s STILL not gezellig, something is clearly wrong. The only way to truly understand the meaning of bitterballs however, is of course to try them yourself. Get your frying pan out, buy some mustard, and be ready for gezelligheid to come your way.     


Roux:  1 stick butter, 1 cup flour

2 cups shredded, cooked beef, 3 cups beef broth

1 chopped onion, 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Breading: 1 cup flour

2 eggs (beaten)

1-2 cups bread crumbs


1. Melt butter, gradually add flour, slowly add broth, keep stirring till it thickens. Stir in the onions, parsley, beef, and cook until it’s thick gravy. Add salt and pepper. Keep it in fridge for few hours to solidify. 

2. Roll the solid gravy into small balls and roll them through the flour, egg mixture and breadcrumbs. Put them in the fridge.

3. Take a saucepan and heat enough oil to cover the bitterballen. Fry them golden brown and serve with mustard.

Read all recepes following the link below