If you're anything like me, you're glad the holidays are over. Don't get me wrong, it's great to celebrate with good food and family and friends. It's fun to decorate the house, open presents, hide other ones, do some cooking, some baking.....and lots and lots of eating. It's such a wonderful, special time, and I love it! But I'm also glad when I can put the tree away, pick up the last of the holiday decorations and get back to down-to-earth-and-honest-cooking. You know, good old fashioned Dutch food. This week's recipe is perfect for the crock pot, or slow cooker. What better to get dinner started while you're cleaning house, catching up on mail or plain simply take a snooze!

 Draadjesvlees, or literally "meat cooked to threads" is one of Holland's favorite meat dishes. It's generally a cheaper cut of beef, braised for several hours, to the point where it is tender, flavorful and easily shreds to savory strands. It's similar to hachée, but without that many onions, and it's a great dish for these colder temperatures. As it sudders (braises) on the stove, the kitchen will fill up with a lovely, wonderful, sweet smell, and makes the evening so much more gezellig...

As you may have noticed, certain vegetables are usually combined with a particular cut or type of meat, and rode kool met appeltjes, red cabbage with apples, seems to be the favorite partner for today's recipe, with green beans being a close second. But one thing you will most definitely need is some type of starch to sop up all the lovely gravy that comes with this dish: usually only boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes will do! 

Draadjesvlees is Dutch comfort food at its best. There is even a Draadjesvlees society!

2 lbs (1 kg) chuck roast, thick sliced
1 tablespoon flour  
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, peeled and sliced thin
4 cups (1 liter) beef bouillon
3 bay leaves
3 cloves, whole
4 juniper berries (optional)
8 pepper corns
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven, dust the beef with flour and quickly brown it in the pan. Add the onions and stir in with the beef until the onions are translucent. Add four coups of beef bouillon, stir and add to the pan. The meat has to be almost submerged. Add the bay leaves, cloves (I stick them in a piece of onion so I can find them again), juniper berries if you want and the peppercorns, then stir in the vinegar or the wine. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover and simmer for a good two hours.

Try a little piece of meat to see if it's tender to your liking. Remove the meat onto a plate, fish out the peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves and juniper berries and adjust the sauce with salt and pepper or a little vinegar if you like it more tangy and reduce slightly. Add the meat back in, stir to cover, and serve with mashed potatoes and rode kool, red cabbage.


  1. Mmm, I make this about twice a year, when my 'Nederlandse zuinigheid' is willing to pay for a big chunk of beef.. or it's on sale. My mom made it according to this recipe, but added a quartered tomato. Something about the acidity in the tomato elevates this just that little bit more.

    Green beans only, btw. I do NOT eat red cabbage, never did... my mom would buy a jar as she was the only one who would eat the stuff.


  2. Hi Nicole,
    love your recipe but I cant work out your butter sticks as we buy it by the half kilo please can you translate it too a weight per stick. thank you from Down under Australia Lou Van Daele

  3. There are 4 sticks in a pound ( 450 grams). One stick therefor is 112.5 grams.

  4. Thank you!!!!!! I came to your site looking for a recipe for honingkoek and started browsing. When I landed on this one, I felt for the first time that I was truly standing in my mother's shoes at the stove, understanding, respecting and loving her talents as a cook. What a gift! Thank you again, from deep in my heart. -Anna

  5. My mother used to make this with (do I dare say horse meat). 40 years later and a continent away, I will make it today with venison.
    Diane (Ineke)

    1. Ineke, I am quite fond of paardenvlees so I don't mind you saying it at all!
      I bet venison was just as lovely!

  6. Nice, but I never let it come to the boil. Lower and slower for more tender meat. I just put it on in the morning and go to the office, my mother is always is a hurry and consequently ends up with "schoenzolen".

  7. I wonder if you could help me out. I've lived in NL for 13 yrs but still haven't sorted out all the different types of meat. Right now something called Bavette is on sale and it looks similar to biefstuk, just a thicker cut perhaps. Any chance you can explain to me exactly what that is, perhaps an English equivalent? It was something that had short cooking time when I read the package as well.

    1. Hi Laura, good question! Bavette is usually the flank or skirt steak, and will do well with either a quick pan-fry or sauté or a long, slow braise. Hope this helps!

  8. Hello Laura,
    Great website!
    To do it even more traditional, serve is with meshed potatoes with a dent in the middle in which you pour some gravy.


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