Russian kotleti are patties made from ground meat; basically they are cutlets. Kotleti may also be referred to as croquettes. Cutlets may be made of thinly sliced meats, covered in breadcrumbs, and then fried. They may also be made with minced meat. What you call them essentially depends on where you are from.
The meats used in kotleti varies as well. Kotleti can be made from a combination of beef and turkey, chicken, pork, fish, or a combination of any of the aforementioned. In my home we enjoy beef and chicken cutlets most frequently.
In Russia, Ukraine, and other former soviet countries, there are several varieties of kotleti made. Now, in modern Russia, the word kotleta (single) and kotleti (plural) is specific to minced or ground meat patties formed into a cutlet shape and fried in oil.
Another form of kotleti in Russian cuisine, is what’s called a Pozharsky cutlet, which is typically a breaded ground chicken or veal cutlet, that is fried in oil. One main distinction between a Pozharsky cutlet and a traditional Russian kotleta, is butter added to the minced meat in a Pozharsky cutlet. This addition of butter is said to produce an especially tender and juicy cutlet.
But we’re not done yet. Then we have the otbivnaya kotleta, which is a cutlet made from minced meat that has been beaten flat with a tenderizing hammer. The cutlet is covered in eggs, dough, or breadcrumbs. The cooking method is generally the same as a kotleta, and a Pozharsky cutlet.
In Ukrainian cuisine, sichenyk, another kotleta variety, is made of fish or minced meat, with added vegetables. The sichenyk is also covered in breadcrumbs, and fried in hot oil as all the other variations.
Now, I will not get into all the other cutlet variations of other countries, simply because I am not familiar with those. However, cutlet variations are found in British, German, Italian, Iranian, Japanese, and Polish cuisine- to name a few. So that gives us a clue as to just how many variations there are. And for obvious reason; cutlets are delicious!
I’m excited to share this simple and comforting Russian angus beef and chicken kotleti recipe with you. From the time I was a little girl I loved kotleti, and my parents made them frequently. At the time, we did not own a modern food processor, so instead my parents, and my brother and I, used an old fashioned manual meat grinder to combine the meat and the bread. We truly had to work for our kotleti. The result was a sore arm and a full and happy tummy! Today you can find vintage Soviet meat grinders from websites like eBay to Amazon.
And I’m happy to say, we will not be using the vintage meat grinder for this recipe! Today we have modern luxuries such as the kitchen aid mixer! Honestly, any food processor large enough for this mixture will do.
What You Need:
1 lb ground angus beef
1 lb ground chicken
2 slices white or wheat bread
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup dill
Vegetable oil and butter for frying
Our goal with this recipe is to get these kotleti as juicy as possible! We will begin by removing the crust off the slices of bread. I use plain white bread for my recipe, but you may use whole wheat as well. Soak the bread slices in a bowl in the milk for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a food processor to mince the onion and dill. I prefer to use a food processor for the onion as opposed to mincing it by hand, because the food processor really brings out the juices we need from the onion, that moisten the kotleti.
Now combine chicken, beef, onion, dill, eggs, bread, salt, and pepper in a large food processor or Kitchen Aid mixer and mix until well incorporated. This recipe is super simple because we will not be taking the additional step of covering the kotleti in egg and breadcrumbs. Don’t worry, these kotleti will still be crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.
If you want to however, you may prepare a bowl of dried breadcrumbs, and dip the kotleti in to cover both sides.
Heat up equal parts vegetable oil and butter in a large pan, and add kotleti. Try not to overcrowd the kotleti to ensure proper cooking. Fry each side for approximately 5 minutes to brown the outside and cook the inside.
Oh my goodness! These kotletki take me back to childhood and dinners with my parents and brother. Today I love to make kotleti for my husband and myself, and my toddler absolutely loves them! My husband prefers them with a side of mashed potatoes and ketchup for dipping. I enjoy these koteli on rye bread like an open faced sandwich, or next to a fresh tomato and cucumber salad, with some smetana on the side! Mmm!
Kotleti are among the most traditional meals that remind Russians and Ukrainians of childhood and home. Consider serving these beef and chicken kotleti with red borscht, another much loved classic. You can get the recipe here. I hope you enjoy these traditional comforting Russian kotleti!