I have been having some fun lately looking up Dutch cooking and these little treats have been on my list forever! Bitterballen literally translates to "garnish for bitters". The snack is meant to be eaten when drinking bitters. It's also a fabulous leftover makeover. So when I had a bit of Sunday roast and gravy leftover I turned them in to this amazing dish. The main part of what made them such an amazing leftover makeover was simply the flavor, they are just really good. But also, I had just under two cups of shredded roast and about that much gravy. And that would not have been enough to feed a family of 6. However, cooked like this we had enough for all of us and quite a few to spare. I think in total it made 32 bitterballen.
My gravy was more like drippings, and very thin so I have a higher roux content. If your gravy is thicker you can cut back on the flour a bit. You do however want it to be very thick, enough that once it chills and sets up it's thick enough to hold it's shape. The technique is similar to croquettes. The mixture congeals when cold and can be shaped. Once they are put int he fryer the mixture heats up to a creamy gravy and the flour and panko coating holds it all in place.
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. beef drippings
2 c. chopped roast beef
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 c. panko crumbs
Oil to dry
Parsley and mustard to serve
Melt the butter in a medium stock pot. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 - 4 minutes. Pour in a small amount of the beef drippings and whisk until smooth. Whisk in a little more until smooth. Continue this process until all the drippings are in the flour mixture and the gravy is smooth. Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
Stir the nutmeg, allspice, and chopped roast beef in to the gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Pour in to an 8x8 casserole dish. Cover the top with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Chill for at least 6 hours, up to 48 hours.
Heat the oil to 350*.
Remove the chilled gravy from the fridge. It should be really thick by this point, easy to shape. Shape in to 1-inch balls. Whisk the eggs, milk, and salt. Dip each of the balls in flour, the egg mixture, and then the panko. I find they are a little easier to make the circles more uniform once they have been dipped in the flour.
Fry the bitterballen until golden. Remove from the oil and drain on a rack. Serve with mustard.