With oxtail meat and stock and dried ceps
For the family Christmas dinner in 2014 I had prepared an old-fashioned clear oxtail consommé as first course. I ended up with leftover stock and a lot of leftover meat from the oxtail. I froze part of the meat with 3 cups of the stock, and when two months later I celebrated my birthday, I used this to make Dutch bitterballen. Bitterballen are small, round croquettes that are served as a snack with alcoholic beverages. The technique of making croquettes and bitterballen is described on this page.
For 20 to 30 bitterballen; preparation in advance 30 minutes; preparation 30 minutes.
For the ragoût
200 gr oxtail meat (or more)
15 gr dried ceps (porcini mushrooms)
1 shallot, chopped
4 Tbsp butter
60 gr flour
5 dl (2 cups) oxtail stock
salt and pepper to taste
beurre manié (equal amounts of butter and flour, kneaded together)
For the breading
flour, stirred egg and dry toasted breadcrumbs
sufficient amount of oil, lard or suet
Preparation in advance
Steep the dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Then pat them dry and chop them.
Meanwhile, prepare the ragout. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the shallot. Fry on low fire until translucent, it must not turn brown. Add the flour in one go, than add small amounts of stock (see this page on how to prepare a sauce like this). Add the shredded meat and chopped mushrooms. Now look at the sauce and judge whether it is thick enough too serve as stuffing for the bitterballen. If it is to thin, it will run out of the bitterbal as soon as it is bitten open (you never cut a bitterbal with a knife); the ragout must almost have the consistency of dough. If not, thicken further with beurre manié (equal amounts of butter and flour, kneaded together into a dough). Let the ragout cool completely and put it in the refrigerator.
Place three deep plates on the worktop. In the first put some flour, the second some stirred egg, the third some toasted breadcrumbs. Take the cold ragout from the refrigerator and form small balls with hand that are dusted with some flour. Roll these balls first through the flour, then through the egg, and finally through the breadcrumbs. Place the bitterballen on a plate in the refrigerator until deepfrying.
heat the deep-frying oil to 190 °C/375 °F.
Add ten to twelve bitterballen in one go, and fry until they are a golden brown. Turn them over after a couple of minutes, then take them out. The whole process should take about four minutes. Let them drain on kitchentowels.
Bitterballen remain hot for a long while, so be careful when taking the first bite! They are often served with mustard. And they are never eaten with cutlery.
Recipe for Dutch bitterballen from leftover oxtail-meat