Serves 8-10, prep time: 10m, total time: 30m



  • Unsalted butter (1 stick)

  • All purpose flour (1 and 1/2 cups, divided)

  • Yellow onion or shallot (3 tablespoons)

  • Italian flat leaf parsley (1 tablespoon)

  • Cooked roast beef, 1 pound whole cut from the deli (2 cups)

  • Beef stock (3 cups)

  • Dry white wine, like Chardonnay (1/2  cup)

  • Kosher salt (2 teaspoons)

  • Black pepper, finely ground (1 teaspoon)

  • Large eggs (2)

  • Whole milk (1/4 cup)

  • Plain bread crumbs (2 cups)

  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

  • Spicy brown mustard for serving

  • Curly parsley for garnish

Chop the onion, parsley, roast beef and set aside.  Heat the beef stock in a saucepan on medium high until hot and at a simmer.  Make the roux.  Place the butter in a deep sauce pot and melt on medium heat, watching carefully not to burn.  When the butter is melted, slowly incorporate 1 cup of flour, whisking a little in at at time.  Once incorporated, let the roux bubble in the pot for a few minutes to burn off the taste of flour, whisking often so as not to burn.  Now, slowly pour in the beef stock, whisking to incorporate into a smooth gravy, making sure the stock is fully absorbed by the roux.


Now, add the white wine, roast beef, onion (uncooked), flat leaf parsley, 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and whisk to incorporate.  You should have a smooth and slightly thicker consistency than gravy (somewhere between a thick gravy and mashed potatoes).


Place the gravy in a shallow, rectangular container and let cool on the counter.  When cool, place in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight.  When the gravy has solidified, you are now ready to roll and fry.  Preheat the oven to 200°F so you can keep the Bitterballen warm until ready to serve.

In a large pot or frying pan (I use a 15" round cast iron frying pan with 3" deep sides), pour the oil to 1" depth and heat on high.  Now, place the remaining 1/2 cup of flour in a bowl that you will use to roll your Bitterballen, do the same in separate dishes for the egg wash (whisk together the eggs and milk) and the bread crumbs.  To know when the oil is ready, take a few bread crumbs and sprinkle in the oil, if they sizzle, your oil is ready.  Turn the oil down to medium-high.  Now, one at a time, take a spoon and shape the solidified gravy into 1" diameter balls.  Roll in the flour, then the egg wash and then the bread crumbs.  One at a time, carefully drop the Bitterballen into the oil being sure not to over crowd the pan.  Fry until golden brown on all side, about 2 -3 minutes.


Remove from the oil and set on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the oil.  When ready to serve, place the Bitterballen in a serving dish, garnish with the curly parsley and serve with the spicy brown mustard.  You can keep the Bitterballen warm in the oven until guests arrive.  If you have any leftover gravy, you can freeze as well and serve at a later date as the Bitterballen freezes very well.  For an accompanying cocktail, serve with the Aperol Spritz as the Bitterballen are excellent with a bitter, but refreshing cocktail.