Capers, Anchovies, Lemon Zest, German Style Goose Meatballs from Duck, Duck, Goose

Raise your Duck and Goose prepping technique and cooking chops with Duck, Duck, Goose Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Ducks and Geese, both Wild and Domesticated (Ten Speed Press, October 2013) by Hank Shaw.

Goose Meatballs, German Style

Königsberger Klopse is a classic German recipe that uses several ingredients Americans don’t normally associate with German food: capers, anchovies, and lemon zest. My version is an adaptation of a recipe in Mimi Sheraton’s classic, The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking. The dish originates in East Prussia, where Königsberg once stood. The Russians leveled the city during World War II and rebuilt it as Kaliningrad.

Historically, these meatballs (pronounced something like ker-nigs-burger klop-shuh) are made from veal or pork, but as both the Germans and the Russians eat a lot of goose, I made them with ground goose. Duck, of course, works as well.

Serve the meatballs with boiled or mashed potatoes or a good German bread and a dark, malty beer.


2 tablespoons duck fat or unsalted butter
1 cup minced yellow or white onion
Kosher salt
1½ pounds ground goose or duck (see opposite)
⅔ cup dried bread crumbs
2 teaspoons anchovy paste, or 5 anchovies, mashed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups Basic Duck Stock (page 222) or beef stock


3 tablespoons duck fat or unsalted butter
½ cup minced yellow or white onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 to 4 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Goose Meatballs

To make the meatballs, in a small frying pan, heat the duck fat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Do not allow it to brown. Sprinkle a little salt over the onion as it cooks. When the onion is ready, remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

If you are not using meat that is already ground, you can make a better, smoother meatball by doing the
following: cut the meat and fat into 1-inch pieces, and put them in a large bowl. Add the cooked onion, bread crumbs, anchovy paste, lemon zest, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper to the bowl. Fit your meat grinder with the fine die, and pass the meat mixture through the grinder. Then add the eggs and Worcestershire sauce and mix in by hand. If using already-ground meat, in a bowl, combine the meat with all of the other ingredients and mix together with your hands.

Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Form the meat mixture into small meatballs with a teaspoon, placing them on the prepared baking sheet

as they are shaped. You can make them bigger, but a heaping teaspoon makes a nice size.

Pour the stock into a pan large enough to accommodate all of the meatballs at the same time. A wide, deep sauté pan with a lid is a good choice. Place the stock over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. When the stock is simmering, carefully add the meatballs. When all of the meatballs are in the pan, turn down the heat as low as it will go. If all of the meatballs are not submerged in the stock, it will be okay. Cover the pan and let the meatballs cook gently for 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the meatballs and set them aside on a platter.

Pour the stock into a heatproof container and reserve it. To make the sauce, wipe the pan out with a paper towel, set it over medium-high heat, and add the duck fat. When the fat is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Do not allow the onion to brown. Add the flour, mix well, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, for a few minutes, until the mixture is the color of coffee with cream.

Add the reserved hot stock, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Continue to add the stock until you have a sauce the consistency of thin gravy—not as thick as Thanksgiving gravy and not thin like soup. You probably will not need all 4 cups of the stock.

Return the meatballs to the sauce and add the capers. Turn down the heat to low and heat until the meatballs are heated through. Add the parsley and remove from the heat.

Serve the meatballs at once. Pass the sour cream and pepper at the table, and invite diners to add as much as they like. This ensures the sour cream won’t curdle from overheating on the stove top and will allow diners to make their servings as creamy as they like.

(* Reprinted with permission from Duck, Duck, Goose by Hank Shaw, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2013 by Holly A. Heyser)


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