(Kotlety, Kotletki, Cutlets, Russian burgers)
Did you ever experience the appetizing smell of kotleti cooked by a typical Russian babushka (grandmother)? If you answered "NO", you just cannot miss out on this recipe!
Why is McDonald’s such a success when all they’re selling is a Russian staple, a kotleta, as they call it? It was once a puzzle to me, but there’s a story behind this McDonald’s success story. Basically, the Russians love beef!
The so-called Russian hamburgers, kotleti, are characteristic everyday restaurant and family fare. Kotleti differ from American hamburgers in that kotleti are golden and crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. In Russian restaurants, they are served plain or with sour cream, mushroom or tomato sauce and accompanied by kasha, macaroni or potatoes.
0.5 kg (1 lb) ground beef
0.5 kg (1 lb) ground pork
1/2 French bread loaf, crusts removed
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tbsp minced dill weed (fresh or dry)
dried bread crumbs, preferably roasted ("sukhari" available in stores)
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil (but it would taste better if you would use butter instead)
Saute the onion in vegetable oil, stirring, until it is golden-brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Soak the bread in cold water for about 15-20 minutes. Squeeze dry and put through a meat grinder, or process into a paste.
Combine beef, pork, processed bread, onion, garlic, egg, and dill. Season with salt and generously with black pepper. Mix well. You can check the seasonings by frying or microwaving a small piece of the mixture.
Make oval-shaped cakes (containing approximately 2 tbsp each of the mixture). The cakes should be about 3/4 inch thick. (If you rinse your hands with tepid water from time to time, it will prevent the mixture from sticking to your fingers.)
Warm some vegetable oil (or butter) in a large skillet, preferably a ‘chugunaya’ iron skillet, to make the kotleti crusty. Roll the kotleti in bread crumbs until completely coated and fry over high heat until they are well-done and have a nice brown crust on the outside, 5- 7 minutes per side.
- In many Russian kitchens, kotleti are not breaded before frying, so as to make them lower in fat and calories.
The traditional recipe, however, calls for breading.
- You can use shredded boiled beets in the kotleti as well, or add cooked mushrooms.
- You can serve these with ketchup, mustard, sour cream or any sauce.