Sunday, January 13, 2013

Königsberger Klopse

Pre-cooked Königsberger Klopse
I don't know about you, but I love Swedish Meatballs. I love them so much I want to marry them. Every time I think about them, I think of cold winters and skiing and Ikea and muppets... all good things, let me tell you. But, as it turns out, my bigger half, the one I actually did marry, is of German descent, and not all that far removed either. His mom and aunt have praised the flavors of Königsberger Klopse, which I don't know if I'll ever be able to pronounce correctly, but certainly can appreciate as a culinary, home-cooked delicacy. So here we go, kicking it old school because I'm THE old fool. Preparing tender German meatballs, a creamy sauce, and more from scratch, eggy, chewy noodles with the brand new pasta maker is always worth all the effort that is involved. Here's the recipe:

Poaching in the pre-sauce
For the meatballs:
1.5 lbs beef
1 lb pork
2 tablespoons chopped capers
1 2 ounce can of anchovies, chopped
1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (stale bread, soak in a bit of milk, then try to squeeze out the liquid)
1 small chopped onion
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 beaten eggs
3 tablespoons of club soda
2 tablespoons of butter
2 dashes of worcestershire sauce

Combine all above ingredients into a large bowl and work them together with your hands until they are the right consistency of a good meatball. 

Adding sour cream and parsley
to the poaching liquid
For the sauce:
2 cans beef broth
1 can water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
10 black pepper corns
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of capers
1 lemon
1 cup sour cream
Salt, pepper, parsley

Combine beef broth, water, white wine, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaf and capers into a large dutch oven, and heat until simmering. Give meatballs a roll in flour and drop into your liquid concoction, cooking in batches until all are cooked through. 
When the meatballs are cooked, you can move onto finishing your sauce. Add the zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 lemon, 1 cup of sour cream (first temper with a little bit of the broth and whisk to a creamy consistency) and salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs back into the sauce, throw on some chopped parsley for a bit of color if desired. 

Makin' noodles!
For the noodles: 
We actually followed the same recipe we had used to make the pasta dough for raviolis. (See: Raviolis with Parmesan Ricotta Filling) This time we used one less egg as the air is not quite as dry and the dough seemed to come together a bit easier. Just another tip, although the recipe calls for all ingredients for the dough to be combined together simultaneously in the stand mixer with a bread dough hook, the dough seems to come together easier into a ball when adding the eggs one by one. 

Delicious Königsberger Klopse
Adding a heavy dose of anchovies and capers to meatballs may sound rather unusual, but both ingredients add salty, tangy, and briny elements to the already succulent, classic flavors that have developed by poaching your ingredients in a savory broth. The meatballs are incredibly tender, melting in your mouth compared to some of the hockey pucks served in crappy hospital cafeterias (not a good time). The sauce is peppery and creamy, and since it has already picked up the flavor of the meatballs themselves as a poaching liquid, there is a continuity of flavor brightened by the final addition of lemon juice. Oh, and let's just call the homemade noodles a perfect chewy starch to soak up the sauce and deliver more hearty flavor from plate to fork to taste buds. If you're looking to prepare a hearty winter dish that is sure to please everybody with a mouth, I would definitely give Königsberger Klopse a try.

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