Monday, June 16, 2008

Frikadellen met krieken (Meatballs with sour cherries )

Another signature Belgian dish with contrasting tastes, typical of the region I live in, the South of the province of Antwerp. I know it may sound strange, even people from other parts of the country who don't know this dish will usually give me the "what the heck?!" response. But trust me, the saltiness of the meatballs goes great with the tangy sweetness of the sour cherries! If you're not sure what a sour cherry is exactly, you can find more information on it here:
In the past, and also today (perhaps to a lesser extent), this was/is a dish eaten at festive occasions, such as the town fair (kermis), family parties, etcetera etcetera. I've heard it being eaten as a desert, but in my family, we've always had it as the main course.

What do you need?

To serve three to four people:

550 gr of ground beef
450 gr of ground pork
250 gr of breadcrumbs (no crust, only the dry inner white part)
4 eggs

1 kg of sour cherries preserved in their own juice
3-4 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of water
1-1,5 tablespoons of potato starch


1. Take a big casserole and put the ground meat in it. In total, there should be about 1 kg of meat, but make sure that there's a little more ground beef in the whole than ground pork. The pork gives a lighter flavor to the beef and also adds some fat, again adding to the overall taste. But you shouldn't use too much pork, otherwise the meatballs will get too greasy.

2. Add the breadcrumbs, the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. If the meatballs are too sticky, or too "wet", add a bit more crumbs. To make the breadcrumbs, leave a couple of slices of white bread out to dry, and after a couple of days break them up into crumbs.

3. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients, so that you get one homogenous mass.

4. Roll the meat into balls of about 3 to 4 cm in diameter.

5. Boil water in another casserole. When the water is boiling add the meatballs, and boil them for about 10 minutes. When boiled, pour away the water and leave the meatballs to cool down.
In the meantime, get started on the sour cherry sauce. You could also make the sauce first, and leave it to cool in the fridge, as I for example prefer my sauce to be cold. But it works equally well when the sauce is still warm. When the sauce has been prepared, fry the meatballs in a frying pan with a litte butter. When they all have a dark golden look, they're ready to be served.

6. To make the sauce, pour the contents of the jar of preserved cherries in a small casserole. Add the 3 (or four, or two, depending on how sweet you want it to be; my grandmother makes it really sweet, whereas my mother prefers to keep some of the cherries' natural sourness). Boil the mixture for about 5 minutes and then leave it to cool down while you mix the water and starch.

7. Mix the potato starch with the water. Add it to the cherries, to thicken the sauce. Again, here you can add more or less starch, depending on how thick you want your sauce to be. Briefly boil the thickened sauce again (for 2-3 minutes).

Serve each person about 6 meatballs, and pour an ample amount of sauce on each plate. Serve with a couple of slices of white or whole grain bread.



Núria said...

Hey! This dish looks great to me! I love the combo of meat and fruits. Great one!

Chocolate Cardamom Cappuccino said...

That is my type of dish meat and cherries. I shall be trying this one out soon.