Klops is a very old-school recipe – originally conceived as a meatloaf with an egg in the center of it, a classic peasant dish of Poland and other Baltic countries.
Baby boomers of Polish descent may remember their grandparents making this – it was beautiful sliced, but was also heavy and not well-suited to the modern palate. Klops is still served in some households in Poland, but has never made the jump to the rest of the world – virtually every recipe item I’ve found is in Polish.
Time to introduce this recipe to the world, with a twist!
I have updated the dish by taking a cue from Königsberger Klopse, also known as Soßklopse – a Prussian specialty of meatballs in a white sauce with capers. My klops recipe is based on this meatball approach, but served with a pungent green sauce instead to offset the richness.
However, Königsberger Klopse don’t have an egg in their center, which means that they aren’t true “klops” in style. I’m sure you’re thinking that unless you’ve got a chicken with a growth hormone deficiency or make a meatball big enough to choke a hippo, an egg solution just wouldn’t work.
Think an inspiration from Asia, Citizens – Quail eggs! Small enough to fit a standard meatball and completing the circle admirably!
You can of course make huge meatballs stuffed with regular eggs, or just leave the eggs out if that is easier or you’re so inclined. Either way, this recipe is delicious and I hope you enjoy it.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
½ lb. boneless ground veal
¼ lb. ground pork
3 Tbsp. butter
1 ½ hard rolls
2 Tbsp. grated onion
½ tsp. grated lemon peel
3 eggs, beaten
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ quarts stock
16 Hardboiled Quail Eggs (JH note: They are available fresh in most Asian markets such as Ranch 99, as well as canned. Obviously, fresh are better, but in a pinch use the canned, rinse them well and skip the hard-boiling step)
4 – 5 Tbsp. butter
4 – 5 Tbsp. flour
3 – 4 anchovy filets (JH note – the best anchovies – by far – are the Ortiz brand, sold at Whole Foods)
2 Tbsp. capers
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
½ cup buttered crumbs
If using fresh quail eggs: bring a pot of water to the boil. Drop quail eggs in and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain and peel. The recipe only needs 12, the extra 4 are just in case some crack in the water. If they’re all fine – eat the extra 4. If using canned eggs, drain and rinse them thoroughly.
Mix the meats with 2 tablespoons butter.
Moisten rolls with water; when soft, squeeze water out and mix bread with meat.
Cook onion in remaining butter until browned. Add to meat mixture with lemon peel, eggs, pepper, salt, lemon juice, Worcestershire and parsley. Mix thoroughly. Shape into 12 balls, forming the meatballs around the individual hardboiled quail eggs. Heat stock to boiling; drop balls in and simmer, covered 15 minutes.
Remove from stock with slotted spoon to a warmed dish and make sauce.
Measure stock. For every 2 cups of stock, mix 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons flour. Stir into hot stock; cook and stir until smooth and boiling. Mash anchovies with 1 tablespoon butter. Stir into sauce with capers and parsley.
Reheat meat balls in the sauce. To serve, cover top with buttered crumbs and ideally serve with spatzle.