The smell of worstenbroodjes baking in the oven remind me of Christmas. You can eat these meat-filled rolls all year, but they seem to be favored during the colder months. They are perfect to hold you over from dinner to midnight on New Year's Eve, to give you a little something to eat after First Christmas Day's hefty lunch if you are too full for dinner but still want to eat something....
Worstenbroodjes are typical from Brabant, a southern province in the Netherlands. Both Brabant and Limburg are the more gastronomically exciting provinces in Holland. Brabant is proud of its koffietafel, a lunch or brunch served with a large variety of rolls, breads, toppings, meats, cheeses and jams and copious amounts of coffee, and the Limburgers can boast about their many pies, the so called vlaaien. Brabant is from old also the province that excelled in producing large amounts of pork, hence anything made with pork often received the adjective Brabants, meaning "from Brabant". It did not need necessarily be a traditional product from the region.
In this case, Brabantse worstenbroodjes are indeed traditional from the area. In other parts of the country, the saucijzenbroodje is favored, but worstenbroodjes fit in perfectly with the koffietafel and aren't as rich.
For the rolls
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of warm milk, plus two tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
For the filling
1 lb ground beef (preferably half-om-half i.e. half beef, half pork)
1/2 cup of panko or breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons of water
Activate the yeast by stirring it into the warm milk. In the meantime, mix the flour with the salt and the sugar. When the yeast has proofed which takes about five minutes (it's now all bubbly and smells great), add it to the flour and mix it in. Drizzle the melted butter on top, continue to mix and finally add in the egg. Mix briefly until it all comes together, then take it out of the bowl, and knead for about five to ten minutes by hand. Grease the bowl, add the dough, turn it over so it's coated, and cover. Let rise for approximately thirty minutes or until 2/3s larger in size.
In the meantime, mix the ground meat with the spices, the breadcrumbs, the egg and the milk. Cut off 2oz portions and roll into a small ball. Set aside while you do the rest. When they're all divided into 2oz portions, carefully roll each ball out into a sausage shape, about five inches long. Cover.
Carefully punch down the dough. Divide into 2oz pieces and roll each piece into a ball. While you work on the rest, keep each one covered underneath a tea towel or plastic wrap, you don't want them to dry out.
Place each sausage roll on some parchment paper on a baking sheet. Cover and let them rise, at room temperature, for forty minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Brush the sausage rolls with the egg wash and bake for approximately twenty to thirty minutes.
Don't stick with just the traditional salt, pepper, nutmeg combo. Have fun with it and add some paprika, some all-spice, you may even add some small chopped onion or garlic. As with everything, recipes are just a guideline!