Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Königsberger Klopse or meatballs in white sauce with capers...

Königsberger Klopse is a Prussian specialty and one of Berlin's national dishes. 
It's meatballs served in a creamy white sauce with capers and usually potatoes on the side, 
and every kid loves them. Except for the capers, maybe. 
But kids can just pick them out of the sauce. I did that, too when I was little.  

Anyway not only being a Berliner, but also having some Prussian blood running through my veins, 
I decided to  introduce my non-German friends to this wonderful meal of my and a lot of German's childhood.
There is some "rules" about how to make proper Königsberger Klopse, though. 
One would think it's adding simply adding capers. 
No, that's far too easy! Let's just take this for granted. 
The rules I'm talking about are a little more subtle and not that obvious at first sight.
I have to admit I never really made Königsberger Klopse myself and do not even know if I have ever eaten the original version. I don't even think there is THE original version to it. But two things seem to be quite important: The original is made with ground veil and anchovy
I think no one I know, including my parents or grandparents, ever made them with ground veil. 
I'm not sure of they added anchovy, either. 
Since I cannot afford a baby these days I decided to stick with what I'm familiar with when making meatballs, which is a mix of ground beef and pork. 
I was curious about adding anchovy to the ground meat mass, though. 
Therefore I decided to at least try this.
And hell, were they delicious!
You really won't taste anything fishy. 
I don't think I would like that.
We still have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow, as well...

Here's what you need for the meatballs:

500-600g mix of gound beef and pork, or the gourmet version: ground veil
2-2.5 anchovy filets
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 onion finely copped
1 tbsp butter
1 stale bun
1 tsp mustard
one egg

For the sauce:

600ml of beef broth
2 bay leaves
3 black peppercorns
1 tbsp lemon juice
2Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter
200g cream
3 Tbsp of capers (small, pickled with pickle juice...)

Starting with the meatballs, you soak the stale bun in water until soft and fully soaked, 
then press out the surplus water.
In a pan melt butter and sauté the finely chopped onion until translucent. 
Finely chop the anchovy filets. 
In a bowl mix ground meat, anchovy filets, soaked bun, egg, mustard, lemon juice, onion, salt and pepper and knead everything with your hands until even.
 Form golf ball sized meatballs from the mix.

meatballs simmering in beef broth with bay leaves, lemon juice and pepper corns

In a wide saucepan heat up the beef broth and add lemon juice, bay leaves and peppercorns.
Carefully place the meatballs in the saucepan. 
The broth should not boil. Otherwise the meatballs might fall apart. 
Cover with a lid and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the meatballs from the broth and toss the bay leaves.
In a separate pan melt butter. Stir in the flour. 
It will be all crumbly and might look weird. 
But everything is ok. That's how you make a roux!
Now slowly whisk in the broth. 
Don't pour in everything at once and stir really well after every step, 
so lumps dissolve and the sauce gets even.
Add the cream and let the sauce boil slightly for another 10 minutes.
Now add the capers and their pickle juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
The sauce should be creamy and thicker. But if you think it's still too thick, mix more broth or water in it.
Add the meatballs to the caper sauce and heat everything up, in case you need to reheat the meatballs.

Serve with potatoes!

PS: You have to add capers.
Otherwise it won't taste as good.
They and the juice add a very unique flavour and nice acidity to the sauce.

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