Every Russian family eats Kotleti Meat Patties (Котлеты), which are everyone's childhood favorite. I always remember my mum making this recipe, which was a great after school snack. They are like a cross between meatballs, hamburgers and rissoles.
By definition, Kotleti Meat Patties are described as pan-fried minced meat croquettes. The meat is formed into oval or round patties, and are usually coated in flour or breadcrumbs before frying. Traditionally a few pieces of stale, dry bread pieces, called soohari, are soaked in milk and mixed into the ground beef. Soohari is a fancy name for old bread (or oven dried), and if you have it, use them for kotleti. Otherwise breadcrumbs work great.
Potato isn't always added to kotleti, but I find it makes them juicy, which is the secret ingredient. Without potato, sometimes kotleti can be like hockey pucks. Well that might be a bit dramatic, but the potato definitely adds juiciness and makes them less dense. You can skip the potato if you prefer.
Mum always said to squeeze the juices from the potato, before mixing to the meat. You can also finely chop the grated potato, so it isn't as visible in your patties, but squeeze the grated potatoes before you cut them.
These Meat Patties can be made with any ground meat, and not only beef. Chicken and pork are quite common, and being an Aussie, I made a different version of with Kangaroo Rissoles. Kotleti are commonly served with a podlivka (which is a Russian gravy) and usually a starch, like mashed potatoes or a pasta. My mum always made these Kotleti with a Podlivka Gravy over Pasta Spirals, which is like a comfort food to me now.
So many ways to eat these Russian Meatball Patties! They're are great as a snack, an entree, with podliva gravy, or even in a burger. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Kotleti Meat Patties (Котлеты)
- 1 kg ground beef
- 2 medium onions grated
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed (optional)
- 1 medium potato peeled and grated and squeezed
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup flour for coating kotleti
- ½ cup oil for frying
Mix together using your hands, ground beef, grated onion, garlic, grated potato, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. After you grate the potato, squeeze out the excess potato juice before mixing to the meat mixture.
Form the meat patties using your hands. Make them into a tight ball (like a snowball), and slightly flatten with your hands into a patty, keeping the edges rounded and width uniform throughout. Put on a plate or tray, ready for frying.
Lightly coat the kotleti in flour before frying. Don't allow thick clumps of flour on the patties, or it will burn and fall into the oil. Gently shake excess flour off the kotleti.
Heat oil into a frying pan until hot. Fry kotleti golden brown and cooked on both sides. (approx 4 minutes per side)