I’ve sung the song of my love for meatballs often and earlier this year took you on a world tour of meatballs. Here I am again with more meatballs for you. This time with a classic German recipe that has a long tradition and history.
Before moving to Germany I was never the one to indulge in boiled meat. I liked my meat seared and then simmered in liquid but the idea of raw meat boiling in stock or water just made a cold shower run up my spine. The only time I would ever eat cooked meat was chicken in a chicken soup.
This changed drastically when I began discovering the German culinary highlights like Tafelspitz and of course Königsberger Klopse. Although the concept of cooking meatballs might seem unusual, it keeps the veal meat tender and succulent. What interested me about this dish however was its origins as I was intrigued to know how some of the ingredients in the dish like the capers, lemon zest and anchovies made their way in a German recipe.
It turns out that the Königsbeger Klopse are a Prussian specialty named after the city of Königsberg, which was completely destroyed in World War II. When the Russians took East Prussia, they renamed the city Kaliningrad. To avoid any reference to its namesake city the German Democratic Republic renamed the dish to Kochklopse, which literally means boiled meatballs. But digging a little deeper I discovered that the dish was also served in the Province of Posen and the Baltic countries. However, the “klopse” were not meatballs made of ground meat but moreover a piece of meat that was beaten (Klopsen = to beat) thin.
Ground meat has actually only been a part of the German diet for the past 200 years. The recipe for Königsberger Klopse as we know it today has developed over the years. Originally it was a thin piece of meat much like the Wiener Schnitzel, which was cooked in a tangy, creamy sauce. According to the history of this dish, a young and creative cook of a merchant family in Königsberg was responsible for the creation of this dish with the extraordinary flavors. It will not come as a surprise that this is one of Germany’s all time favorite traditional dish.
The ground veal is flavored with salty anchovies, tangy lemon zest, cracked pepper, onions and nutmeg. They are then simmered in the broth, which serves as a basis for the roux thickened sauce studded with capers and a spritz of white wine. It is the sauce that takes this dish to the next level. Both capers and lemon are indispensable for the perfect Königberger Klopse and do not let anyone else talk you out of it. If you are not a capers fan, you can skip it, but then you will not be indulging in the sublime flavors combinations of this dish. This is a super comforting, mellow dish that has just enough zing in it from the capers, anchovies, lemon zest and cream to create some very interesting flavors.
As a tip I got from my mother-in-law: Do not let the meatballs simmer at all. Just bring the broth to a simmer, carefully drop in the meatballs, cover the pot and turn the heat down to its lowest setting. The meatballs will cook gently, will not fall apart and will remain tender.
Boiled potatoes sautéed lightly in parsley butter are the best accompaniment with the Königsberger Klopse. Add to it a beetroot or tomato salad and a sensational, traditional meal is ready to be served. Perfect for family Sunday lunches or dinner with friends.
This would not be the typical kind of meal we serve at home, but there are those snowed in or rainy Sundays when you know nothing is going to make the day better than a good, hearty, classic dish. Although I do not cook German meals very often at home when I do I always turn to traditional recipes and dishes, often from Tom’s mum or grandmother. With the recipe in hand I tend to make a stop at the books to study the origins and history, often getting lost in stories.
It has been a week with lots of highlights. While my knee is still slowing me down and things at this pace gets to be frustrating I am getting a lot done and seem to be very focused and constructive. Sandy and I have been busy organizing the Weimar workshop, finally happening on Friday and Saturday. Excited about this as we are doing a lot of the the food preparation, crafting and designing ourselves and it has been amazing to work with Sandy who seems to have the same rocket fuel as I do. For every down we have faced, we have managed to turn it to a very top notch high and I am really looking forward to be having the workshop in such an exclusive location.
This week on my usual surfing session through the web I came across a few faves:
- Geometric Easter cards by Funkytime
- Holly’s fab tips on Successful collaborations made me smile. This blog has provided me with so many great collaborations and offered so many opportunities. Holly brings it all together in her post.
- I succumbed to Aaplemints’s Decadent Chocolate Bark!
- Totally want this Piped silk pajama shirt pant set and robe in geometric print by Love & Lustre
- Will be making Food and Style’s Chive-infused oil
- Dumping (please excuse the pun) with Kristen and her heavenly Crab dip
- Want this kitchen and light
More German classics from WFLH:
|Gruyere Bacon Leek and Sun Dried Tomato Spätzle||Tarte d'Alsace - Elsässer Flammkuchen||Cinnamon Kissed Apple Goji Berry Strudel|
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