The October Daring Cooks’ Challenge was brought to us by Andrea from 4pure. She introduced us to one of her family favorites which is soon to become one of yours, too. Welcome to the world of Dutch Bitterballen!
Oh that sounded intriguing! I love discovering new dishes and this one sounded particularly yummy and… exotic. But what are Bitterballen? They are delicious fried Dutch croquettes made with a somewhat thick béchamel (and gelatine) and filled with all sorts of delicious ingredients like meat, seafood and cheese. Apparently they were born as a method to use up leftovers (didn’t I already say that I LOVE to use leftovers to create new dishes??) – that would become the croquettes’ filling. Now Bitterballen are so loved in the Netherlands that they have become a tradition and are served in every snack bar!
I already knew I would love these as we do have something similar in Italy (and I know there’s something similar in Spain too) and I immediately decided to go for the cheese version as I knew everyone in the family would like it. And we did. They were a huge hit. And the best part was how easy they were to make. I made the mixture the previous evening and made the croquettes for lunch the next day. I love recipes that can be split for when you don’t have a lot of time. I used a mix of Italian and French cheeses, but you can use whatever cheese you prefer. The use of gelatine makes rolling and frying the croquettes a breeze! I used gelatine sheets and the original recipe called for 3… I only used 2 and it still worked out wonderfully, so it’s up to you. Make a batch and serve them hot with a nice glass of wine or some Dutch beer! You will be in heaven! Enjoy!
Thanks Andrea for introducing us to the world of Bitterballen, I know we’ll be making them again and again!
Cheese Bitterballen - delicious deep fried Dutch croquettes filled with cheese, crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside!
- 100 gms – ½ stick butter
- 110 gms – ¾ cup flour
- 500 ml – 2 cups milk
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 3 sheets or 2 tsp gelatin I used 2 sheets only
- 80 gms – 3 oz. aged cheese I used Parmigiano Reggiano
- 80 gms – 3 oz. soft cheese like brie camembert or Nije kaas (I used camembert)
- 80 gms – 3 oz. matured cheese I used provolone piquant
- 2 egg yolks
- 80 ml – 1/3 cup cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Eggs beaten
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
Grate the cheeses (and chop the soft cheese) and keep them aside.
Put the butter in a big pot and melt it over a medium flame.
Add the flour all at once and cook, while stirring, for another 3 minutes.
Add the milk, whisk very well and let it come to a boil (keep stirring).
Add the cheeses and cook at a high simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk the egg yolks with the cream and whisk into the cheese mixture.
Dissolve the gelatine in a little cold water and add to the cheese mixture (if you are using sheets, soften them up in cold water for 5 minutes, then squeeze out the excess water and then add them to the warm cheese mixture).
Spread the mixture onto a cold plate or oven dish, cover it with plastic wrap and let it cool for at least 2 hours (better if overnight) in the fridge.
Make 30 balls with the cheese mixture and coat them in flour, then dip them in the beaten egg and roll them in breadcrumbs ensuring they are evenly coated.
Place them on a plate and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Deep fry them in hot vegetable oil at a temperature of 180°C – 350°F for about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.
These Bitterballen can be frozen (before being fried) and stored for about 1 month. They can be fried from frozen by cooking them for a minute longer.