If you’re a Slavic person, chances are you grew up eating mom’s kotleti. My mom and dad made kotleti often, and every time us kids smelled them cooking, we’d take out our favorite kotleti pairings and set the table: ketchup, sour cream, and rustic bread. What a treat!
Today, the tradition continues in my family. If I’m cooking kotleti and my husband walks through the door, you can bet he knows what I’m cooking! Kotleti are one of his favorite Russian dishes, and he’ll immediately excitedly say: “We better have some ketchup!”
So what are kotleti? If you’re not a Slavic person and unfamiliar with Russian kotleti, I’ll bet you still have an idea of what they taste like. Kotleti are kind of like cutlets, made of ground meat; mainly beef, pork, or chicken, but also turkey or fish. The ground meat is combined with onion, garlic, eggs, and breadcrumbs or bread. These sound a lot like meatballs, don’t they?
Cutlet variations are found in British, German, Italian, Iranian, Japanese, and Polish cuisine- to name a few. But the Slavic community also has a lot of cutlet variations. Ukrainians sometimes use minced meat and vegetables to form cutlets called sichenyk. There is the otbivnaya kotleta which is a cutlet made from minced meat that has been beaten flat with a tenderizing hammer. A Pozharsky cutlet has butter added into the minced meat mixture and fried in hot oil.
Oh there are so many different ways to make kotleti, and you can use so many different meat variations and combinations! For instance, beef and turkey, pork and beef, minced fish, or angus beef and chicken as in this Russian Kotleti Recipe. Today’s recipe will feature chicken, and it is the easiest and juiciest kotleti recipe ever!
What You Need:
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup milk
2 slices white bread
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup oil
Chopped dill for garnish
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Recipe Yields: About 20 kotleti
First I take the slices of white bread, place them in a bowl and soak them in milk for 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine the ground chicken, eggs, minced garlic, grated onion, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
I find that a food processor or a hand held grater are both perfect for grating the onion. If you want juicy kotleti, you must use a food processor or grater on the onion to really bring the juices out of it. That’s why I recommend not mincing the onion with a knife.
Once the bread has soaked in the milk, remove the slices of bread and mix in with the chicken mixture. Heat oil in a deep pan. Use your hands to form the cutlets and place into the pan allowing about an inch of space between kotleti. I’ve used an ice cream scoop to make the kotleti also, and it’s worked quite well!
Cover the pan with a lid, and sauté the kotleti in hot oil for 5 minutes. Flip them and sauté for another 5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Covering the pan will produce steam and ensure the cutlets are cooked through.
Since you’ll be cooking a few different batches, it’s beneficial to wipe out the pan with a paper towel between batches. This will help prevent any burning and ensure the kotleti are cooked evenly. Sprinkle with fresh chopped dill.
Kotleti are typically enjoyed as a main course entree, alongside creamy mashed potatoes and a cold salad such as Olivye– olivier salad or Russian Shuba salad. You can dip them into ketchup (husband’s fave) or sour cream (my favorite)!
I love to make open faced sandwiches with kotleti, too. Just slice the cutlet in half, add it on top of a slice of rustic bread, top with cheese, a tomato slice and enjoy!
If you love meatballs, or you’re looking for a creative way to cook ground chicken, try these Russian chicken kotleti out!