Germany: Chef Mirko Trenkner Veal meatballs with a creamy caper sauce

Königsberger Klopse

The Story:

This dish comes from Königsberg, a medieval Baltic port that became part of the Soviet Union in 1945, when it was renamed Kaliningrad. The German community that left the town after World War II took this recipe with them and the dish was adopted all over Germany, but especially in the eastern part.

For me this is a very special dish, because it reminds me so much of my childhood.

My mum was a great cook at home and when she asked us children what we wanted to have for Sundays Lunch, most of the time we shouted out “Klopse”- no doubt!

As a little boy I didn’t like the capers in it and because parents doing often their best to satisfy the little ones I always got an extra portion with no capers in it.

Today I think that the capers give it a special character, but if you don’t like them they can be omitted.


Serves 4
2 slices of toast
1 kg/2 ¼ lb minced (ground) veal
2 onions, finely chopped
2 anchovies, finely chopped
10 ml/2 tsp capers
15 ml/1 tbsp chopped parsley
5 ml/1 tsp medium-hot mustard
2 eggs
2-3 bay leaves
½ lemon
200 ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup single (light) cream
50 g/2 oz/4 tbsp butter
50 g/2 oz/ ½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  salt and ground white pepper
  boiled rice, to serve


  1. Soak the bread in water, then squeeze out and break into small pieces. Put the pieces into a large mixing bowl. Add the minced veal, onions and anchovies. Finely chop half the capers and add them to the bowl, with 5ml/1 tsp of the parsley and the mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Add the eggs and mix everything together thoroughly, using your hands, then form 12 meatballs.
  2. Bring a pan of salted water with bay leaves and juice of ½ lemon to the boil over a high heat and add the meatballs. Make sure that they are not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 8–10 minutes. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon, reserving the stock, and keep them warm in a low oven.
    Reduce the stock in the pot over medium heat to ½ of its volume.
  3. Measure 300ml/17fl oz/generous 2 cups of the stock into a saucepan and bring it to the boil again. Stir in the cream. Knead the butter with the flour to make a beurre manié and stir the mixture, a little at a time, into the boiling sauce until it is sufficiently thickened.
  4. Add the remaining capers and let the sauce cook for 3 minutes, then put the meatballs back into it. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining chopped parsley. Serve with rice.