Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Endive as at home


Serves four:

  • 500 g lean minced beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 30 g crushed rusks or dry breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • flour
  • 40 g butter
  • 400 ml water
  • pinch of burned sugar
  • salt
  • 8 or more waxy potatoes
  • 1 kg fresh endive, butter
  • 8 g cornflour
  • freshly ground nutmeg

Andijvie zoals thuis. Always eaten with meat balls. The dear Dutch gehaktbal, in former times king of pubs and sandwich bars, is still the most eaten meat preparation in the country today. Some champions accomplish to make 10 big balls out of 500 g! Every Wednesday is mince day at the butchers in the Netherlands. Even undergraduate students, usually culinary adventurers, treat their occasional bouts of homesickness with this traditional dish.

Right they are! At the beginning of our era Latin authors wrote enthousiastically about ‘intibum’: helps against a weak stomach, heart palpitation, podagra and eyesores. A bit overdone, but surely the bitter leaves, due to inulin, are very good for your digestion.

  • Knead minced beef with egg, rusks, and seasoning. Form 4 round balls without cracks. Roll through flour. Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan. Fry meatballs until brown on all sides. Add water with burned sugar (for a nice brown colour). Close pan, lower flame.
  • Peel, wash and halve potatoes, add to the meat balls. Let simmer 20 minutes.
  • Wash endive. Slice coarsely. Cook 10 minutes in some water. Drain well and shake with butter. Spread in a buttered shallow flame resistant dish. Put meatballs in the middle, surround with potatoes. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
  • Thicken sauce with cornflour, ladle some over balls, present the rest in a sauce boat.


If you prefer a softer, juicier ball, take half minced beef, half pork. Knead with two slices white bread soaked in milk and squeezed in stead of crumbs. For the rest follow the above recipe.

My mother in law, educated in the Hague, liked to serve her cooked endive mixed with a sauce, she made by melting  20 g butter, stirring in 25 g flour, and all the time stirring slowly adding 2 dl warm milk and some salt. Of course with a lot of nutmeg over it. Then you need less gravy. But we Dutch adore mashing potatoes in puddles of gravy. Our Belgian neighbours maintain that we drink it.

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