Who doesn’t love a good meatball? The Swedes have their Sweedish Meatballs, the Italians have theirs, simmered in a red sauce or gravy. The Belgians also have a meatball dish. With my travels to Belgian, I have fallen for their version, that some pubs serve up. This inspired me to re-create what I remember tasting on those cold days and nights, a Beer Braised Flemish Meatballs.
This Beer Braised Flemish Meatballs recipe begins with a mix of ground lamb and veal (or beef if you prefer) and blended with dried apricots & figs, plus lots of phenolic scented spices designed to enhance the flavors found in a Belgian Quadruple. The finished Belgian Monk inspired meatballs are then stewed in a Quadruple Bière Sauce. This sauce can be used for a seared or grilled steak, poured over mashed potatoes, much like gravy, and | or served with noodles. I cooked up some rice-shaped pasta called orzo, followed the directions on the package, then mixed then into a browned butter, infused with cinnamon at the very end of the browning process, to further enhance the phenolic flavors found in the Quadrupel beer style.
These meatballs can be made small for a cocktail party or formed larger for an entrée size portion. As with all my recipes on my online cookbook, the recipe can be easily scaled to the amount needed for your party, dinner, or gathering.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the shallots, eggs, apricots, figs, thyme, salt, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, mace, orange peel, and clove. Pulse several times to breakdown the dried fruit, and all the ingredients to a chunky composition or continue pulsing more, creating a finer paste, depending on the size of the finished meatball. If the meatballs are going to be large, keep the mixture chunky to add texture. Or if the meatballs are going to be served as an appetizer or a small plate, a finer purée will infuse the flavors more evenly, not competing with the grind of the meat.
Once the mixture is prepared to the desired specs, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the lamb, veal, and bread crumbs. Mix with clean hands until evenly distributed. Then fry up a small bite in a skillet, cooking fully, to taste the seasonings, and adjust salt if needed.
Once happy with the flavor, portion the meatballs (larger balls around 2 - 3 ounces as an entrée or smaller cocktail size around a tablespoon) on to a lightly oiled sheet tray. Roll each meatball gently between the palms of the hands to create an even round sphere. Line each meatball into rows, so they are not touching.
To Bake Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425°F | 218°C.
Place the sheet tray into the center of the oven and cook for 15 minutes for a small size or 30 - 45 minutes for a larger size. This step can be done before serving, to make it easier to serve when guests arrive. Chill the cooked meatballs and refrigerate up to a day in advance.
To Sauté Directions:
In a large cast-iron skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 8 meatballs to the pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes on each side, until browned evenly on all sides and the internal temperature is 165°F | 74°C.
Quadruple Bière Sauce Directions:
Take a large skillet and place over high heat, letting the pan preheat through for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the remaining beer to the hot pan slowly. The beer will foam up and caramelize, creating lots of steam.
Add the cream and bring the mixture to a simmer, adjusting the heat if the boil is too strong. Reduce the sauce to a light caramel color and the volume has reduced by half. Adjust the bitterness of the sauce with some of the sugar, whisking to combine, also testing for salt. Add the cooked meatballs (either straight for the oven or cool from the refrigerator) and toss to combine or reheat. Serve immediately.
One can skewer the mini meatballs onto decorative toothpicks (with Belgium Flags) or serve the larger meatballs over rice or orzo tossed with a cinnamon-infused brown butter.
More Belgian Beer Cuisine Recipes:
'Shake and Bake' Hopped Fried Chicken
Allagash Tripel and Tangerine Beer Brined Turkey
Almond Coriander Crust
Apricot | Orange | Ginger | IPA Paletas
Asian Fry Sauce 2.0
Asian Inspired Beer Brined Turkey
Autumn Maple Crème Brûlée
Bacon, Pork and Beer Stuffing, in a Pumpkin
Banana Hefeweizen Cream Pie
Barley Cavatelli Pasta
Barley Malt Maple Syrup
Barleywine Braised Pork Belly
Barleywine Marinated Prime Rib
Basic Jamaican Jerk Marinade
Basic Jamaican Jerk Marinade for Fish | Seafood | Shellfish