- 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
- 40 g butter
- 400 ml water
- pinch of burned sugar
- 8 or more waxy potatoes
- 1 kg fresh endive, butter
- 8 g cornflour
- freshly ground nutmeg
Always with meat balls. Our dear 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 enthusiastically 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 the meatballs until brown on all sides.
- Add water with burned sugar (for a nice brown colour). Close pan, over low heat.
- Peel, wash and halve the potatoes, add to the meat balls, simmer for 20 minutes.
- Wash endive (if following the menu suggestion save the hearts). Slice coarsely. Cook 10 minutes in some water. Drain well and shake with butter. Spread in a buttered shallow flame resistant dish. Put the meatballs in the middle, surround with potatoes. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
- Thicken the sauce with cornflour, ladle some of it over balls, serve 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 instead 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. Although we Dutch adore mashing potatoes in puddles of gravy. Our Belgian neighbours maintain that we drink it.
- First course: Kamper ei (Eggs from Kampen). Boil 4 eggs in a small pan of water for 10 minutes. Plunge into cold water, shell them. Cut each egg in half lengthways. Mash the yolks with two tbsp mustard. Fill the whites with this mixture. Serve on a salad made from the endive heart mixed with oil, vinegar, pepper and salt to taste.
- Dessert: compote of Eve. Peel and core 4 apples, slice. Boil down to a coarse pulp with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and 2 tbsp vanilla sugar, stirring now and then. Let cool down. Top with a dollop of cream whipped with vanilla sugar.