This dinner idea comes from some women my husband works out with who are both married to Germans. They were discussing German recipes and this one came up and my family is crazy about capers so I knew I wanted to try it (thank you ladies, for the idea).
According to the recipes I read, these are traditionally made with veal, but I am using half beef and half pork. The ground meats are mixed with stale bread, egg, bread crumbs, lemon zest, anchovies and marjoram or sage. This is a really interesting seasoning combination so I couldn’t wait to try it out. This recipe called for using 2 stale rolls, but didn’t say what size, so I just guessed and used one of my sandwich rolls which is a bit larger than a regular roll. It depends how much bread you like in your meatballs, I don’t like big clumps of bread so I went on the lower side for that ingredient.
Another interesting difference to these meatballs is that they are simmered in broth to cook as opposed to being pan fried or cooked in sauce. After the meatballs are cooked and removed from the broth, some of the broth is used to make the caper sauce.
The caper sauce is made with the cooking broth, lemon juice, cream, butter, a little sugar, and capers. A few suggestions I saw said to serve this with boiled potatoes so I did that and topped the whole dish with some chopped parsley. It was also suggested to serve with sauerkraut so I served that on the side along with some pickled beets as well.
We really liked this recipe, the boiled potatoes in caper sauce in particular. We all wished there had been more potatoes. The sauce is really tasty. When I make it next time, I will change the cooking method slightly though. I will pan fry the meatballs, and then finish cooking them in the sauce instead of cooking in broth. I think this would give the meatballs more flavor and also help them dry out a bit less compared to simmering in broth.
Konigsberger Klopse (German Meatballs in Caper Sauce)
For the meatballs:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 stale bread rolls The original recipe didn't specify the size of the rolls. I used 1 large sandwich roll.
- 2 eggs
- 6 tbsp bread crumbs
- 4 tsp lemon zest
- 6 anchovies finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tsp marjoram or sage
For the broth:
- 6 cups chicken or beef broth or 4 cups broth 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 onion quartered
For the sauce:
- 6 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 pinch sugar
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 3 cups broth from cooking the meatballs strained
- 1 1/4 cups cream or half and half
- 3 tbsp capers or more to taste
- 3 tbsp chopped parley
For the boiled potatoes:
- 1 lbs small waxy potatoes
- salt and pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- few peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp butter
For the meatballs and broth:
- Soak the rolls in some water. Squeeze all the liquid out with the help of a clean towel or some cheesecloth. You want to squeeze out all the liquid so your meatballs aren't soggy.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the chopped onion. Fry until it is translucent.
- In a large bowl combine the meats, roll pulp, eggs, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, onions and anchovies. Mix well to combine and season well with salt and pepper.
- Form into balls. Place on a plate and put into the fridge until ready to cook.
- Place all the stock ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the meatballs and let them simmer for 20 minutes. Test to make sure they are fully cooked through.
- Remove them with a slotted spoon and reserve the broth after pouring through a strainer.
For the potatoes:
- Wash and peel the potatoes. If there are really large ones, halve or quarter them.
- Fill a large pot with water and add the potatoes, some salt, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-20 minutes until fully cooked, then drain them.
- Coat with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
For the sauce:
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and mix while cooking until it forms a smooth paste. Slowly add in the 3 cups of broth while whisking so it doesn't form lumps. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, then the capers and cream. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add a few potatoes and some meatballs to a bowl and then top with the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.