Introduction: Hollandse Gehaktballen (Dutch Meat Balls)
The Dutch love their meat and potatoes. Perhaps the most popular meat dish is the ubiquitous gehaktbal, or meat ball. It's huge and juicy and really easy to make. Here's how.
1 lb ground meat (half pork, half beef, or "half om half" as it's known in Holland)
1 cup bread crumbs ("paneermeel")
2 tsps salt
2 tsps pepper
2 tsps ground nutmeg
Did I mention NUTMEG? The most important spice in Dutch cooking. The ground variety is just fine. You know that you've added enough when you can smell it in the mixture.
Put everything together in a mixing bowl.
Roll up your sleeves and mix everything into one giant mound of ground meat.
Form into portion sized balls, slightly smaller than a tennis ball. Yes, those are big balls.
Use nice European style (i.e. cultured) butter. American "hotel bar" style would work in a pinch, but it's just not as good (for anything.)
Over medium to high heat, brown the butter in a Dutch oven (or similar style hefty pan).
Add your balls. Brown them quickly on one side...
And with a spoon, turn them over to brown the other side.
Add 1 cup of water, turn heat to low and put a lid on the pan. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Halfway through, add some more water if necessary to make sure everything stays nice and steamy.
Serve and enjoy!
Goes well with everything. The Dutch like it with cauliflower and potatoes --we just had some nice sauteed mixed field greens and garlic on the side.
If you like, you can add some more water and a little flour to create a gravy from the leftover drippings.
Take the leftover balls to work for a nice lunch. Great on white bread with a nice coarse mustard.
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