For the last two years, good friends of ours were living in the Netherlands and recently moved back to the states. We were lucky enough to visit them in Rotterdam last year and it was easy to understand why they loved living in the South Holland Port City. Cool modern architecture, bikes and a vibrant food scene.
One of the food traditions we were introduced to was bitterballen. Round croquettes typically filled with a meat gravy (beef). Served with alcohol, this is one of the most popular snacks in Holland. On my very last night in Rotterdam, with a gin and tonic I was able to enjoy expertly made bitterballen in a bar on a boat.
We are happy to have them home in Portland now AND that their enthusiasm for Dutch culture and bitterballen led them to purchase a deep fryer! Last night we made a mushroom version of the bittergarnituur.
Here are a few links to recipes I found. Easy to follow and improvise from. Have some fun and try different fillings. Onion and Madame Jeanette Pepper filling was a HIT with our group.
Easy carnitas recipe, lots of room to improvise. We used pork butt we brought home from a butchery class and made double this amount. Be sure to cut off excess fat or remove large sections after roasting.
4 pound boneless pork butt cut into cubes
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tb fresh lime juice
2 C water, to cover
1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves
Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven.
Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered.
Cover pot and transfer to the oven, about 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler.
Remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined pan.
Remove and discard bay leaves & onion from dutch oven, keep the cooking liquid.
Place pot over high heat on the stove and boil until it thickens and syrupy, about 20 minutes. You should have about 1 C of liquid remaining at the end.
Use two forks to pull each cube of pork into three equal sized pieces. Once the liquid has reduced, gently fold in the pieces of pork into the pot. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Spread the pork back onto the foil lined pan and evenly spread the meat around so there is a single layer of meat. Place in oven to broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp. Keep a close eye on the meat during this stage. Flip the carnitas to crisp further. Serve with tortillas or over rice
This is an awesome early spring dessert and uses 3/4 cup honey, you can use store bought but I highly recommend going to your local honey purveyors and finding out what sort of variety is available in your area. For example, a buckwheat honey is dark brown in color, thick in consistency and tastes similar to molasses. No matter what honey you use, know that this pie is very, very, sweet and basically a sugar pie or heavy custard. You can use your own butter crust recipe for the shell. I like to garnish with great big hand harvested salt flakes.
Butter, 1/2 cup, melted
White Sugar, 3/4 cup
White Cornmeal, 2 tbs.
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Honey, 3/4 cup
Eggs, 3 large
Heavy Cream, 1/2 cup
White Vinegar, 2 tsp
Vanilla Paste, 1 tsp
Maldon or Hand Harvested Salt Flakes for garnish
Using a mixer, combine Sugar, Salt, Cornmeal and butter to make paste.
This dish was an instant favorite at a Canadian Friends-giving a few years back. James and I get TWO Thanksgivings every year, we are SO lucky! This is an easy vegetarian side to make that can be served hot or cold, brings color to the table and travels well so it is perfect for potlucks and family style sharing. It has well balanced sweet and savory components that you find in Sweet Potato casseroles and Bread puddings.
Butternut or Acorn Squash, peeled and cubed
Olive Oil, 1 tbs
Sesame seeds, 2 tbs
Honey, 3 tbs
Balsamic, 1 tbs
Chili Flake, 1/2 tsp
Feta, 2 ounces, crumbled
S & P, to taste
Toss cubed Squash in Olive Oil and distribute evenly on sheet tray
Bake 20 minutes at 410°, remove and toss with sesame seeds.
Bake additional 10 minutes
In a serving dish drizzle Honey, Balsamic, Feta and Chili flakes over roasted Squash
Brining is a great way to tenderize lean meats. Not necessary but results in a juicier protein. Here is an easy recipe for a brine solution, maple syrup doubles as a great glaze ingredient when your roast is close to completion.