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vrijdag 18 mei 2012

Typical Belgian meatballs: frikadellen met kriekjes

I'm born and raised in Belgium. Belgian cuisine is really nice and mostly quite easy to prepare.
One of the things I really like is the following dish: meatballs with cherries. It's served with bread at my house. 
It may seem a strange combination, having warm (!) cherries as side dish with it, but in my country it's a traditional meal, and one of my personal favourites.

Ingredients for 4 people:
- 800 grams minced pork or a combination of minced pork and beef

- 2 eggs
- a dash of breadcrumbs
- pepper and salt

- nutmeg
- butter
- large bowl of conserved (sour) cherries
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- bread (we prefer French bread)

Preparing the meatballs is the hardest part of the job - so I can tell you that the difficulty level isn't that high. 
Combine the minced meat, the eggs, breadcrumbs (as much needed to get a firm mixture). Add salt, pepper and a little nutmeg to taste. Form meatballs. The size really doesn't matter. Some people make them small, others form one large meatloaf. We make them mostly the size of a mandarin. Melt some butter in a pan and bake the meatballs slowly on low heat. 

To prepare the cherries, you pour the preserved cherries with all their juice and the sugar in a pot and put them on the stove to cook. Once they cook, you add some cornstarch (dissolved in a little water) to thicken the juice. Taste before you put them off the stove. Maybe it requires a little more sugar.

You're ready to serve! The thing with this kind of meal is that it's really a sociable meal. The pan with meatballs and the warm cherries are put in the middle of the table for everyone to grab as they like. The bread is cut into large chunks and dipped into the cherry sauce. Nothing fancy about it, but really tasty.


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