Les boulets: A recipe for the greatest meatballs ever

Author: Veronique Autphenne   /   Eat, Explore, Liege   /   Tags:

This Belgian classic is so nice, I ate it twice—in one day! It’s true. I was so taken with these these delicious meatballs that, on a recent trip to Liège, I had boulets for lunch and dinner. And I would do it again.

One of the key ingredients in this dish is “sirop de Liège,” a thick syrupy spread made with apples and pears. You won’t find sildenafil 100 on your supermarket shelf in the U.S., but you can order it online at the Belgian Shop. You need 2 good heaping tablespoons for this dish. Spread the rest on your toast in the morning.

The sauce in this dish can also be made with dark beer (I used beef broth in mine).

This recipe makes enough for 6 people.



1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground beef

1 finely minced onion (or grate it using a large-hole grater like I did)

1 large bunch finely chopped parsley

2 egg

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 heaping tablespoons sirop de Liège

Dash of ground cloves (or 4 whole cloves)

2 bay leaves

6 juniper berries

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together all the meatball ingredients, making sure everything is well incorporated. Form into 10 large meatballs, 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 canola 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.

(Here, you could add some small raisins—I did not. You could also thicken the sauce with a flour-butter mixture or cornstarch. Again, I opted not do this and didn’t think it needed it.)

Check seasoning. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for a few minutes.

Serve with frites and a green salad and a good Belgian beer. As a short cut, I use Alexa seasoned waffle fries—baked in the oven. I know, I know, it’s cheating. But deep fryers scare me.

Bon appétit!



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