Pork Cheek Bitterballen - A Perfect Bar Snack

dutch croquettes

Bitterballen are a classic Dutch bar snack that you will find in almost every bruin cafe in Amsterdam. Crispy on the outside, but with a liquid meaty center, bitterballen go perfectly with jenever or beer. Most places use beef flavoured with nutmeg for the filling, in the tradition of using leftovers many variations can be found including a curried version in the former Dutch colony of Surinam. I've used pork cheeks for the their flavour as well as the extra gelatin needed to help solidify the bechamel sauce for the filling. Strong Dijon mustard is the typical accompaniment and works really well.

Pork Cheek Bitterballen Recipe

500gr pork cheeks
1 onion in quarters 
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
4 cloves
1 sprig thyme
250ml milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
5 gelatin sheets
salt
pepper

Dutch croquettes
Gelatin Sets the Ragout Before Paniering in Flour, Egg, and Breadcrumbs


      1. Braised the cleaned pork cheeks in a pot with the onion, peppercorns, bay, cloves and thyme in 500ml salted water for about 2 hours until very tender.
      2. Strain the liquid and reserve 250ml
      3. Chop the pork cheeks roughly
      4. Make a roux of approx 60gr flour and 60gr butter 
      5. Add the reserved liquid and milk to make the thickened sauce
      6. Bloom the gelatin sheets and add to the cooling sauce
      7. Add the pork cheeks
      8. Refrigerate until completely set
      9. Form into 3cm balls and panier (flour,egg,breadcrumb) twice.
     10. Deep fry until golden


Dutch croquettes
A Creamy Center is the Secret of a Great Bitterballen

Dutch Croquettes

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