Sweet Meets Savory
Here's my version of the traditional Flemish dish. Cherries are great for pies, tarts and other sweets, but work well with savory too!
You Will Need
For the meatballs:
Soak bread in milk for about 30 minutes. When it is very soft and has soaked up all of the milk, add pork, beef, onion, allspice, nutmeg, fennel, salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper. Use hands to combine together and knead gently. Form into balls slightly larger than a walnut, rolling between your hands so that their shape holds and they are fairly compact.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Fry meatballs over medium to medium-high heat until they are well browned. It's best to leave them for about 6 minutes before turning them the first time, then cooking an additional 4 or 5 minutes. Cook in batches or use two pans. If cooking in batches, wipe out skillet, then add more butter and oil before frying additional meatballs. Transfer meat to a platter, along with any onion bits from the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle flour into the pan and stir with a wooden spoon. Add a tablespoon of butter and let it melt, stirring the flour and butter together until smooth and scraping up any additional bits at the bottom of the skillet. Remove pan from heat and slowly add 1 1/2 cups of hot water, mixing it in quickly. Return to heat and stir in the buttermilk until a smooth sauce forms. Adjust for salt and pepper. Add the meatballs (and onion bits) to the sauce in the skillet, cover, and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meatballs are soft and tender.
For the cherry sauce:
Place cherries in a large saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until the fruit softens and give up some of its juices. Stir in honey. Use more or less depending on how tangy you like the sauce. Combine flour and water in a small bowl. Stir into the cherries and allow to cook until it thickens. Once the sauce has thickened, add the butter then give it another stir. Your sauce should have a soft, glossy appearance.
Serve meatballs with cherry sauce on the side.