THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Berlin | Berliner Bulette | The Story of Meatballs, Part 2

The story of the bulette was featured in a major Berlin daily

Brought to the former Prussian capital by the Huguenots in 1700, the bulette is established as an institution, and now that we are in Berlin we can debate the peculiarities that make Berliners agree to disagree about ingredients and methods, then we can reflect on the meatball versions across Europe.

Berliner Bulette

  • 500 g beef / pork / veal, minced *1
  • 150 ml milk / water
  • 100 g onion, chopped small
  • 100 g soft white roll or two thick slices of a baguette, soaked whole in milk or water
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g speck (bacon) *2
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped *3
  • 1 tbsp marjoram, chopped small *4
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped small *4
  • 5 g caraway seeds *4
  • 5 g dried green peppercorns, fresh ground
  • Nutmeg, about 1/6 of nut grated
  • Salt, large pinch

*1 A two to one ratio of beef to pork is usual but buletten can be made with equal amounts or all of beef, pork or veal.

*2 Small cubes of bacon can be fried in onion until crisp, added cold to the mix.

*3 Garlic can be added fried with the bacon and onions, or added raw.

*4 The herbs are optional. The amount of caraway is a personal decision because of its pungent flavour.

Preheat oven to 175ºC.

Squeeze out the liquid from the buns. Add to the mince with the egg, onion, nutmeg, herbs and seasonings. Combine into palm-sized balls, about 50 grams each, flatten.

Brown in a frying pan over a high heat in oil.

This will take a couple of minutes, turning constantly.

Remove to oven and bake for ten minutes.

Bavarian Fleischpflanzerl GERMANY Bavaria meatballs

The rival to the Berlin meatball is the Bavarian meatball. Dijon mustard is the principle difference between them. Despite similarities the two recipes have different origins, and are not related to the frikadellen family prevalent throughout northern and western Europe. The same applies to the Danish frikadeller and the frikadellen of Germany. And that story comes in part 3.

  • 300 g beef, minced
  • 200 g pork, minced
  • 100 ml milk / water
  • 100 g onions, chopped small
  • 100 g soft white roll, soaked whole in milk or water
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g breadcrumbs
  • 30 ml oil
  • 25 g mustard (traditional Dijon made with verjuice or wine is favoured)
  • 15 g butter
  • 10 g salt
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp marjoram, chopped small
  • 5 g black pepper, fresh ground

Incorporate soaked bread with the egg, onions, parsley, mustard and marjoram. Add mince and seasonings. Mix by hand.

Spread breadcrumbs sprinkled with salt on a large plate. Wet hands and take a palm-sized lump of the mixture, about 50 grams each. Form into a compact ball, roll in breadcrumbs.

Continue until the mixture is used up.

Brown in butter and oil over a medium heat. Cook for 12 minutes, turning constantly.

Meatball Combinations

ALBANIA Qofte — minced beef / lamb, breadcrumbs / bread, egg, feta cheese, flour, garlic, mint, milk, olive oil, onion, oregano, parsley, sunflower oil, seasonings

ALBANIA Qofte me Oriz-Qifqi — rice, eggs, mint, seasonings

ALBANIA Qofte Shtëpie — lamb, biscuit crumbs, onion, egg / feta cheese, breadcrumbs, milk, mint, oregano, black pepper, large pinch

BELGIUM Ballekes — minced beef / pork, braised onion, white bread soaked in milk, egg, parsley, seasonings

CYPRUS Keftédes — minced lamb / pork, potatoes, egg, onion, mint, parsley, vinegar, seasonings / cumin / oregano / garlic

DENMARK Frikadeller — minced pork, milk, onion, egg, flour

DENMARK Köttbullar — minced beef / pork / veal, onion, egg, flour, milk

FINLAND Lihapullat — minced beef, sour cream, onion, flour, egg, mustard, paprika, seasonings

FRANCE Attignole — minced pork, pork fat, white bread soaked in milk, eggs and flour, onion, pepper, shallot

FRANCE Attriaux — minced pork, liver, garlic, onion

GEORGIA Abkhazura — minced beef, pork, caul fat, vinegar, black pepper, garlic, onion, cayenne, coriander, fenugreek, salt, sumac

GERMANY Gehacktesbällchen — minced beef, onion / shallots, whigte bread soaked in milk, egg, mustard, sage, thyme

GREECE Keftédes — minced beef / chicken / lamb / pork / veal, eggs, onions, bread soaked in water, flour, seasonings, parsley, mint / oregano, thyme / garlic

GREECE Soutzoukákia — beef, spiced tomato sauce

ITALY Etruscan — pork caul with minced pork, crustless bread, wine, ground pepper, garum, myrtle berries, pine nuts, whole peppercorns

ITALY Polpette — minced beef / veal, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, seasonings / sausage / salami, herbs

KALININGRAD RUSSIA Klopse — minced beef / pork, bread roll soaked in water, onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, anchovies / mustard, seasonings / spices

NORWAY Kjøttkaker — minced beef / chicken, egg, potato flour or starch, oats, onion, milk or water, ginger, nutmeg, seasonings

POLAND Breslauer Klopse — beef, white bread, onions, Polish mustard, egg, capers, anchovies, seasonings

POLAND Klopsiki w Sosie Pieczarkowym — minced beef / pork, etc with mushroom sauce

POLAND Klopsiki w Sosie Sery Pleśniowe — minced beef / pork, etc with blue cheese sauce

POLAND Pulpety — minced beef / pork / veal / turkey, rice, semolina, onion, hard boiled egg, seasonings

ROMANIA Perişoare — double ground beef / lamb, rice, egg, onion, parsley, paprika, flour, seasonings/mashed beans

SPAIN Albóndigas — minced pork, veal / beef, lamb, garlic, manchego cheese, scallions, thyme, seasonings (Albóndigas — in almond sauce)

SWEDEN Köttbullar — minced beef / pork / veal, onions, breadcrumbs soaked in milk, egg, parsley, pureed potato, seasonings

TURKEY Köfte — double ground beef / lamb, egg, onion, flour, red pepper paste, seasonings / bulgur, walnuts, paprika flakes, parsley

TURKEY İçli Köfte — double ground beef mince, onions, walnuts, mint, parsley, red pepper paste, pomegranate molasses, red pepper flakes, sumac in bulgur-semolina-walnut spiced crust

PLUS Anne’s Quick Meatballs + in Broth + in Curry Sauce + in Soup +

… continued in part 3.



Leave a Reply