Royal meatballs, or Koenigsberg Klops, is an old classic German dish of Berlin and Brandenburg cuisine. This dish is also sometimes called East Prussian meatballs (German: Ostpreußische Klopse). The dish has been known for a long time and is popular not only in Germany – there are variations of German meatballs in Norwegian, Swedish, Latvian, Russian and even Israeli cuisine. The dish – at least the East Prussian version, as the most popular in Germany – is made from minced meat and served with boiled potatoes and capers sauce, this is in short. By the way, Koenigsberg Klops are so popular in Germany that they are sold in the form of canned food. You can buy them in a supermarket, open a jar, warm up and have lunch.
What are these famous East Prussian stewed meatballs? The first mention of this dish belongs to Frau Henrietta Davidis, or rather, her full name is Johanna Frederika Henrietta Katarina Davidis. Ms. Davidis in 1845 published a cookbook, by the way, popular and relevant to the present day, which contained 1,500 recipes for various dishes (soups, second courses, side dishes, desserts, pastries, sauces, and others). The book was intended primarily for German girls from wealthy families. This book was called “Practical Cookbook. Reliable and self-tested Recipes for the ordinary and refined Kitchen” (German: “Praktisches Kochbuch. Zuverlässige und selbstgeprüfte Recepte der gewöhnlichen und feineren Küche). In the first edition, the book was published in 1000 copies, in the sixth already 10,000 copies, subsequent editions were already up to 40,000 copies. Only during the life of the author of the book, it was published 31 times, and it is being republished to this day.
Different Versions of German Meatballs
Actually, there are more than 50 different names for meatballs in Germany.
- Frikadelle – is the most common name for meatballs in Germany.
- Bulette(“ball” in german) – in the northeast of Germany.
- Fleischpflanzerl – in the south part of Germany.
- Fleischküchle, literally “meat pie”– in the southeast
- Klops is an old name for meatballs (these ones we would prepare today).
- Fleischlaberl or Fleischknödel – in Austria.
- Fleischchüechli – in Switzerland.
What Makes these Meatballs German?
The name of the meatballs came from the Old German word “Kloppen”, which meant “to clap, to beat”. The fact is that when meat grinders did not exist, minced meat for these meatballs was obtained from grounded and finely chopped meat.
How to Make German Meatballs
- First, we will deal with a stale bun, and in order not to beat brains about what kind of bun it is, we take a couple of slices of bread (left on the table yesterday), cut off the crusts and cut the rest into cubes. We put it in a suitable bowl and fill it with milk. Leave until softened.
- Now you need to prepare minced meat for Klops. You can use a meat grinder or take the ready minced meat. After the meat, we pass bread squeezed from milk through a meat grinder.
- Peel the onion, cut it into small cubes.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and fry the onion in it, stir until softened and transparent.
- Let the fried onion cool down a little and add it to the minced meat, mix the contents of the bowl (minced meat, soaked bread and onion) until smooth.
- Finely chop the anchovy filets.
- In a suitable bowl, mix the chicken egg, mustard and chopped anchovies, then slightly whisk.
- Add the resulting egg-mustard-anchovy mix to the bowl with minced meat and mix again until the liquid is absorbed into the minced meat.
- Pluck leaves from the stems of parsley (don’t throw away the stems, they will still be useful), chop them finely.
- Add chopped parsley, ground sweet paprika, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground black pepper and salt to the bowl with minced meat.
- Knead the minced meat thoroughly.
- Take a tablespoon of minced meat and form round Klops.
- It is easier to work with minced meat with hands soaked in water.
- Make neat and round balls of 2 ⅓ inches in diameter.
- Put the meatballs on a cutting board.
- In a suitable saucepan, pour the water and put the saucepan on the fire, bring to a boil and add the onion peeled from the husk, sprigs of parsley, bay leaf, sweet and black peppers and a half (3 tsp) of small capers.
- Cook the spices on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the aroma appears. Then carefully lower the previously prepared meatballs into the broth, bring to a boil and continue to cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes (it is worth remembering that with a stronger boiling of the broth, the meatballs will become stiff, and the broth will boil away).
- Carefully catch the ready-made meatballs from the broth, put them on a plate and keep them warm. Cover with a lid in a frying pan or wrap the plate with foil.
- Filter the broth through a tammy, take 16.9 fl oz of filtered broth and add ½ cup of the marinade from capers to it. This is the base for capers sauce.
- Remove the zest from the lemon and finely chop it.
- Melt butter in a frying pan, add wheat flour and stir. Until the melted butter soaks into the flour. Continue to fry until smooth and slightly darkened.
- Add dairy cream and broth with capers marinade to the pan, mix the contents of the pan until smooth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, add lemon zest and lemon juice to the sauce. Add ground nutmeg, ground black pepper and salt to taste. Add the remaining 3 tsp. small capers and meatballs and simmer them at low heat for a few minutes. Meatballs are ready!
- Guten Appetit!
4 TIPS for the BEST Frikadellen/German meatballs
In order to get perfect meatballs, you need to choose your ingredients wisely.
What to aim for
1. Use the correct type of meat.
The perfect choice would be veal meat, but the mixture of pork and beef meat will also work.
2. Bind the meatballs with egg and bread
As we wrote earlier in the recipe, we suggest adding bread and egg in the minced meat. If you have an egg or milk intolerance, you can not use these ingredients.
3. Double-check your seasoning.
In order to be sure that your meatballs are perfect for you, we recommend frying and trying one before boiling all the meatballs.
4. Ensure the temperature is not too hot when boiling Klops
If the temperature of boiling water would be too hot, you may overboil your meatballs.
- Ready-made Koenigsberg Klops are served with a side dish such as boiled potatoes.
- German Potato salad, mashed potatoes, Bratkatoffeln would also be a great side dish.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
You can keep cooked meatballs in an airtight container. This way can last for 3 months. You can reheat them following the recipe.
Serving Size 1
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 280
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 20g31%
- Saturated Fat 6.7g34%
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Sodium 1.8mg1%
- Potassium 0mg
- Total Carbohydrate 9.9g4%
- Dietary Fiber 2.1g9%
- Sugars 1.1g
- Protein 14g29%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.