The “boulets à la Liégeoise” combine meatballs and sirop the Liège. Oh yes, Belgian love sweet and savory dishes. But first, let’s explain the basics :
• Sirop de Liège (French for “syrup from Liège”, known in Flemish as “luikse siroop”) is a Belgian jelly-like spread made of evaporated apple and pear juices.
• In Belgium, meatballs are called boulettes or boulets in French and ballekes or bouletten in Flemish. They are usually made of a mixture of beef and pork with breadcrumbs and sliced onions. Many other variations exist, including different kinds of meat and chopped vegetables.
Ingredients for 6 persons :
1 kg ground pork & beef
1 finely minced onion
1 large bunch finely chopped parsley
1 slice dry white bread, torn into small pieces and soaked in a bit of milk
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
3 finely diced onions
4 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 quart beef broth
2 tablespoons sirop de Liège
Dash of ground cloves (or 4 whole cloves)
2 bay leaves
6 juniper berries
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Let’s start with the easy part : In a large bowl, mix together all the meatball ingredients, making sure everything is well incorporated. Form into 10 large ballekes, place on a foil-covered baking pan, and put in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, start on the sauce. In a large heavy saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook onions over low-medium heat until lightly browned.
- Add 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar and let onions caramelize a bit. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar.
- Add a quart of beef broth, bring to a simmer, then add 2 tbsp sirop de Liège, the cloves (or ground cloves), and the juniper berries.
- Season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves. Simmer for 30-35 minutes.
- Check seasoning. Add the ballekes to the sauce and simmer for a few minutes.
- Enjoy with fries and a good Belgian beer. Bon appétit!