In collaboration with Redmond Multicookers.
It feels like an absolute age since I have cooked anything proper! In fact, it’s been nearly a month since I blogged a recipe and this is because I have been busy galavanting about on travel adventures! After an epic two week bikepacking trip through the highlands of Scotland (part one can be read here, the rest of the story will follow soon!) I returned home for two days to collect my family, and, before I had finished unpacking from the bikepacking trip we were off on another holiday, this time to Brussels for a weekend’s Belgian Chocolate Experience courtesy of P&O Ferries.
Football fever was apparent when we arrived in Brussels with the streets in the city centre decked out in football bunting and shop window displays hinting at the excitement, despite the rainy weather.
I confess that I am not one to follow the football, but if we hadn’t been travelling with children my husband and I would have opted into watching the Belgium – Wales match in one of the local pubs, just for the immersive experience.
The evening of the match we had dinner at Chutney’s in the city centre, choosing this restaurant over the others because it had a handwritten sign outside boasting traditional Belgian cusine. I tried a trio of Belgian specialities – vol au vent, beef carbonade and, my personal favourite, the Liège meatball (bottom left photo with the spring onion sprinkled on it) served with Belgian fries and a bottle of Le Fort craft ale to wash it down. Again, I’m not really a beer drinker but this ale was really rather lovely, dark and rich with an excellent flavour.
The whole meal tasted amazing and I vowed when I returned home I would look up the recipe for the meatballs. Also, the fries were the best fries I have ever, ever eaten. It turns out that Belgian frites are fried in beef dripping instead of the vegetable oil I have grown accustomed to in the UK. Genius! How can I ever go back to oven fries again?!
We arrived back from our weekend trip abroad yesterday and so with Belgium fever still upon us I picked up a few Belgian beers at Beervana in Lerwick and set about recreating the classic meat ball recipe I’d tried in Brussels.
Redmond Multicookers are also going football mad this season. They’re hosting a football cooking competition on their Facebook page where you can share photographs of the recipes from the participating countries in this year’s Euro finals and be in for the chance at winning a Redmond multicooker.
Traditionally these meatballs are baked in the oven and the sauce is prepared separately. I made the sauce in my Redmond Multicooker, a handy cooking appliance with over 45 functions which can store away easily into a cupboard when not in use.
It’s a really rather simple recipe – just blend the meatball ingredients, a combination of beef and pork mince, form into large meatballs and bake. The gravy simply involves sauteeing some onions with fresh thyme before adding a good quality beef stock (I use Essential Cusine stock powder) and some Belgian brown beer. The special ingredient is sirop de Liège, a special apple-butter like spread made with evaporated apple and pear concentrate. I couldn’t obtain this in Shetland, so I replaced it with pear and apple spread by Sunwheel, which worked a treat.
The gravy is thick and fruity, ideal for dipping fries into. Although this recipe is a classic Belgian dish, there are as many different ways to make it as there are families. Everyone has their own style. I adapted two recipes from here and here to prepare mine.
There will be more posts on our Belgium trip over the coming weeks. Do consider signing up to my weekly newsletter so you can be sure not to miss them! You can find the sign up box in the right hand side bar of this page.
In the meantime, why don’t you send a photo of one of your favourite dishes from the countries in this year’s Euro final over on the Redmond page!
Boulets à la Liégeoise - Belgium Meatballs
for the meatballs
for the sauce
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil or drippings from the meatball pan
- 3 onions halved and sliced
- 4 thyme sprigs leaves only
- 3 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 330 ml dark Belgium beer
- 670 ml beef stock I
- 2 tbsp sirop de liege I used pear & apple spread by Sunwheel
- 4 whole cloves
- 6 juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 20 grams cornflour dissolved in a bit of cold water
- Preheat your oven to 200 C and lightly grease a roasting tray with beef dripping.
- Put all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl and, using your hands, combine well.
- Measure out 10-12 meatballs weighing approximately 120 grams each and place into the roasting tray.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the rapeseed oil in the bowl of your Redmond Multicooker using the FRY > VEGETABLE setting.
- Cook the onions with the thyme leaves for a few minutes until they begin to change colour and add the dark muscovado sugar, stirring to caramelise the onions.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar and then add the Belgium beer and the beef stock.
- Bring to the boil and add the apple spread, cloves, juniper berries and bay leaves. Season to taste.
- Select COOK and set the timer for 30 minutes. Leave the gravy to simmer with the lid down.
- During the final five minutes of cooking add the cornflour dissolved in some water to thicken the sauce.
- Add the meatballs and serve with frites, salad and a good Belgium beer.
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OTHER BELGIUM INSPIRED RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE
Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Belgian Waffles by Kavey Eats
BBQ Waffle S’mores by Foodie Quine
Flemmish Beef Stew & Speculoos Biscuits by It’s Not Easy Being Greedy
Blinde Vinken Braised in Grimbergen Beer by Cook Sister
SHARING WITH SOME BLOGGING LINKIES
Recipe of the Week by A Mummy Too
Disclaimer: This is a paid post for Redmond Multicookers.