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Könisberger Klopse or German (Duck) Meatballs in creamy Lemon Caper Sauce is a German Classic and a fond reminder of the types of meals my Oma and Opa would make when I was a child. Growing up our holidays and family gatherings would always consist of traditional German dishes, cold cuts, and homemade Spätzle. Carp was on the menu more often than not and there would always be plates of Zungenwurst (Blood & Tongue Bologna) and Souse (Headcheese), but the Spätzle was always the best!
In this version of the recipe, I substituted the more traditional minced veal with duck as I had an abundance from a recent trip to Lake St. Clair. During our stay on the Ontario/Michigan border, we hunted from large blind boats over mixed spreads of puddle and diver ducks and were fortunate enough to get a good mixed bag shoot in and harvest 7 different species of waterfowl of including Mallards, Green Wing Teal, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup (Bluebills), Redheads, Bufflehead and some Canada Geese as well.
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“Könisberger Klopse” (German Duck Meatballs in Creamy Lemon Caper Sauce)Course: Uncategorized
2 lbs Duck (ground)
2 tbsp rendered duck fat
1 tsp salt
1 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups white onion (minced)
4 anchovies (mashed)
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Zest of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp black pepper
- Lemon Caper Sauce
1.5 litres duck (or chicken) broth
3 tbsp butter (unsalted)
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp capers
3 tbsp parsley
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 or 2 bags of traditional German egg pasta (500-1000 grams)
1 white onion sliced
8 tbsp bacon bits
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp olive oil
- Heat the duck fat in a large covered sauce pan over medium heat until clear and add in minced onions. Add salt and fry until the onions are soft, translucent and aromatic. Set them aside in a bowl to cool. Do not clean your skillet as this will be used to boil your broth as well.
- Mix the remaining meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add in the onions. Using a tablespoon, take a heaping scoop and gently form into a ball with your hands. I like making my meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball. Repeat this process until there is no meatball mixture left.
- Add the broth into your saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and gently add your meatballs, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once the meatballs are done set them aside and pour your broth into a separate bowl for later.
- Wipe your saucepan to remove any excess broth, return to medium heat and melt the unsalted butter. Add the flour to the melted butter stirring often. Once mixed, slowly add your broth back into the pan. Continue to mix the sauce gently and add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper. The consistency of your sauce should be slightly thinner than a typical brown/beef gravy. Add the meatballs, capers and parsley to the sauce and set to low while you make the Spätzle.
- Boil Spätzle in water until it floats (about 10 minutes / or based on the directions on the package), remove and drain in a colander. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat and saute onions until soft. Add in the Spätzle, bacon, and olive oil and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- On a large plate or shallow bowl add your desired amount of Spätzle, 3 or 4 meatballs, and spoon the Lemon Caper Sauce over top. Garnish with parsley and lemon zest.