A beef fritter is a fried patty with beef as the primary ingredient, binding ingredients in the batter, and breading on the outside. There are numerous variations on the beef fritter with many different kinds of beef and vegetable additions available. They are relatively simple to prepare and can be cooked either in a skillet or a deep-fryer.
The most basic recipe calls for mixing bread crumbs and stew beef to form patties and then either pan-frying or deep-frying the mixture until browned. If a deep fryer is used, the mixture can be rolled into balls instead of patties. Adding salt, pepper, onions, and garlic to the batter can help enhance the flavor of the fritters. The exact origins of the beef fritter are unknown, but a version of this simple recipe can be found in the U.S. War Department's 1910 Manual for Army Cooks.
Many other recipes for beef fritters exist. For a tastier fritter, corned beef or slivers or roast beef can be used in the batter. Coating the outside of the seasoned beef with a combination of eggs and flour makes an easy, effective batter for pan-frying. Vegetable chunks can be mixed with the meat to give the fritters enhanced flavor and color. Chopped red or green peppers are a popular addition.
Beef fritters can be prepared in an oiled skillet or a deep-fryer. To prepare a fritter using a skillet, heat at least enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of a skillet set to medium-high heat and fry fritters on each side until golden brown. Each side will take three to five minutes. In a deep fryer, the fritters will take approximately five minutes to cook.
Small beef fritters are often served with some sort of dipping sauce. The flavor of the beef and the breading pairs well with many different types of sauces. A marinara-based sauce and a spicy sauce both go well with a beef fritter. The fritters make good appetizers and can be served with a variety of different sauces for guests.
Different types of meat can be substituted for beef when preparing fritters. Pork, sausage, or chicken fritters can be made in much the same way as a beef fritter. For a vegetarian option, swap out meat for corn, beans, or artichokes. Various processed, packaged fritters are available in the frozen foods section of most supermarkets.