Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dutch Croquettes

A couple years ago the wife and I visited Holland, a very charming country with charming people and charming food and drink.  As you might expect, we spent a lot of time in charming little pubs drinking some of their charming beer and wine.  We also dined at such establishments quite often, and one thing that was always on the menu was meat croquettes. 

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of these tubular little fried cylinders of meat the first time I saw them, but I found I had to try them, and I definitely liked what I tasted.  Man, these babies were great.  Succulent and savory inside and crispy and crunchy on the outsize.  They made for a great lunch.  They were usually served with bread so they could be crushed up and eaten like a sandwich, but I just ate 'em straight up.

Well, come to find out, these things are one of the most popular food items in Holland.  They are so popular that all the McDonalds in The Netherlands serve their own version called a McKrocket. 

(yes, we tried these too, and they were delish.  Please don’t tell anyone we ate at a McDonalds, though.  (All in the name of food research, of course.))

While we were there, my wife bought me a Dutch cookbook to add to my cookbook collection, and when we got home I was delighted to find it had a recipe for Croquettes.  I whipped up a batch, and they were pretty good, I must say.  Good enough for the old Eat’n Man blog, so, without further ado, here ya go:

Dutch Croquettes

1 lb Lean Stewing Beef or Veal Shoulder, Cubed
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Onion, Cut into Wedges
2 Carrots, Cut into Pieces
Couple Springs Parsley and Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 Mace Blade or 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mace
Several Black Peppercorns
3-4 Cups Beef Broth
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Egg Yolk
1 Teaspoon Finely-Chopped Parsley
A Few Drops Lemon Juice
Vegetable or Peanut Oil for Deep Frying

For The Breading

2 Cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Cut your meat into cubes and season with a little salt.  The traditional meat for Dutch Croquettes is veal, but this is a bit expensive over here, so I tried it with round steak and things came out just fine.  Use whatever stewing beef you like, or if you want to be uber authentic, go with some veal. 

Sauté the meat cubes in the butter for about five minutes or so, until nicely browned.  Add the Onion, Carrots, Parsley, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Peppercorns. 

return the beef to the pot... 

...and enough beef broth to cover.  

(note, the original recipe called for simply using water instead of beef broth.  This would of course work out fine if you want to do it, but I went for the broth for a bit more ‘beefy’ flavor)  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or so, until the beef is tender and completely cooked. 

Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and mince it finely in a food processor.  


Strain the cooking liquid from your pot and reserve 1 cup of it. 

Melt more butter in a skillet and then sift in the flour and allow it to cook for a couple minutes.  

Stir in the reserved cooking stock.  Cook until thickened. 


Add the egg yolk and stir vigorously.  

Remove from heat.  Stir in the minced beef or veal, 

then the parsley and lemon juice.  Stir everything up well until the meat and sauce are thoroughly mixed.

Spread the mixture on a large platter or baking sheet and cool it in the fridge for a couple hours. 

Divide the mixture into eight portions.  Shape these into cylinders by rolling and patting them on a cutting board. 


Beat the two eggs with the olive oil and place in a shallow bowl.  Place the bread crumbs in another.  Roll each croquette in breadcrumbs, then the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs again.  

Place on a tray and chill until you are ready to cook. 

Heat the vegetable oil to 350F 

...and fry the croquettes for 5-6 minutes, 

...until they turn chestnut brown.  

Drain them on a paper towel, then serve immediately with some spicy mustard and a side of fries (or frites, as they call 'em in Holland)


Until next time,

Hope you enjoy these ‘Dutch’ Treats.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chipped Beef on Toast

You might be surprised to find this recipe on my food blog.  One, it’s pretty simple, and Two, it’s a much maligned dish in the eyes (or mouths) of many.  But I actually like the dish, and I thought it might be a fun if not obscure little dish to share with you. 

As it can be made with shelf-stable ingredients, this dish was a mainstay for the American military throughout much of the Twentieth Century.  It was from this environment that it developed its other moniker, “S.O.S,” which in polite circles is said to mean ‘Same Old Stuff,’ as the dish was served quite often, or ‘Save Our Stomachs,’ but of course, this being coined by servicemen, the more common, more crude meaning was ‘Shit on a Shingle.’

Apologies for using such a word on a food blog, but, I strive for accuracy.  We’ll move on now.

Chipped beef is a really interesting product.  It can be found at your local grocery store in the canned meat section, but it isn’t canned.  

It is merely sealed in a glass jar, as the beef has been dried and heavily salted, making it shelf-stable for perhaps years. 

You could of course make this recipe with non-dried beef, and it might be even tastier.  I have visions of someday making it with my smoked brisket, and I bet that would be good.  But here I will present you with the authentic, more or less, version that you would find in military mess halls or galleys.  This is the version that I first tried—not in the military, but at an aviation commissary that served a great deal of former military personnel.  When I’d seen it, I thought it didn’t look very appetizing, but so many people were raving about it, I had to try it.  I found it actually somewhat tasty, and started making it at home a short while later, usually for breakfast. 

Chipped Beef on Toast

3 Tablespoons Butter
2.5 Oz (1 Jar) Dried Beef, Shredded
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Slices Toast

Melt Butter in a skillet.  

When it has melted, sift in the flour... 

...and allow it to cook for a minute or so, then stir.  

Add the milk... 

...and allow this to cook for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring it occasionally. 

Meanwhile, shred your beef.  I find a pizza cutter works well for this, 

but any old knife will work, or you can even tear it with your hands if necessary. 

Add the Cayenne 

and the Worcestershire 

to the skillet mixture, then add the beef and stir. 

Resist the temptation to add any salt to the dish, the beef has plenty of salt in it already.

Pour over toast 

and serve. 

Until next time,