I’m sharing a recipe today – but first I have to share the back story. I have this friend Oksana. She’s pretty much amazing in a million ways. One of the things I admire about Oksana (particularly because this is one of my weaker areas in life) is her ability to pull off a great homemade meal pretty much every single night for their family of 5. I aspire to be more like that.
Oksana is originally from Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan. Don’t worry – I had to look that one up on the map, too. This is Oksana, and this is Kyrgyzstan.
There is a very popular dish in that area called Kotleti and basically it’s a Russian version of American hamburgers. From what I understand, there was a guy named Anastas Mikoyan (I guess he was Stalin’s food supply commissar during his time) who traveled to America in 1936 and was inspired by the American hamburger. He wanted to copy the idea but somehow the bun got lost in the shuffle and the country got hooked on mass-produced kotleti instead. (Source: From Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya von Bremzen)
Well … regardless of the history, we think these are yummy. And we learned about them when Oksana made them for our family one time several years ago – so in our family we lovingly call these “Oksana Patties.” This is how it’s done in my Arizona-based kitchen (even though I’m sure learning from someone in their Russian-based kitchen would be far more interesting).
Step by Step
Put 1/2 lb. of ground beef + 1/2 lb. ground pork in a large bowl.
Chop a small onion and add that to the bowl. I use my Pampered Chef Food Chopper, which I’ve had for who-knows-how-many-years. I think I’ve nearly beat it to death with so much use, so I may be getting a new one soon. I would buy the same one again unless someone convinces me that I’m missing out on some other chopper. And now I’m totally on a tangent.
Add an egg to the bowl.
Add 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise + 1 Tbsp. flour to the bowl.
Add paprika to taste + salt and pepper to taste. We like the Himalayan Pink Salt by Olde Thompson + the Tellicherry Black Pepper by Kirkland Signature – both purchased at Costco in their own grinder container thing.
Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl. Meanwhile, heat up a frying pan and add just a little bit of olive oil. It’s time to make patties and place each into the pan. You guys – if you know a little something of my love for gloves in the kitchen, you know that I was positively freaking out about touching the meat with my bare hands. I have issues – I know. But the disposable rubber gloves aren’t the best idea for blog photos, right? So I totally had to take deep breaths through this moment. And there’s my behind-the-scenes story for the day.
Medium-low is where I have my stove setting.
Flip the patties occasionally and fry them until they’re browned and cooked through.
That’s how I prepare Kotleti (which I’ve also seen spelled Katlety), but I’ve heard of other variations that may be of interest to you. For example:
- grating the onion instead of chopping the onion
- add crushed garlic to the mixture
- add finely chopped dill or chopped fresh parsley to the mixture
- coating the patties in fine dried bread crumbs
- I tend to flatten my patties but for juicier results, don’t flatten or the juices will seep out
A simple vegetable side dish.
I want to suggest a particular side dish that I think complements the Kotleti nicely. Quick back story: I have this other amazing friend – Lydia, who also inspires me in many ways, including her domestic skills. This vegetable side dish is one that she taught me when we were all newlyweds and it remains one of my favorites. Easy.
Get a small bag of baby carrots and drop them in boiling water for roughly 5 minutes or so to soften them up. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and add a little drizzle of olive oil.
Cut up a couple zucchinis. I typically cut off the ends first, then length-wise – right down the middle.
With the zucchini now sliced down the middle, I then slice them about 1/4″ thick or so. That way the pieces are small enough for the kiddos.
Combine the sliced zucchini and the carrots (which are now softer from boiling) in the frying pan. Add salt + pepper to taste. Add dill weed to taste.
And the best part – add some shredded parmesan cheese to taste. Mmmmm.
For your convenience, we have put together recipe cards – Project Life style, of course. Can’t wait to share those with you really soon – in a separate post. In the meantime, here’s the list in case someone wanted to give this a try immediately.
Kotleti (Russian Hamburgers)
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 sm. onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. flour
salt & pepper to taste
paprika to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Make patties and then fry them in a pan with some olive oil (not too much). Fry at medium-low until browned, flipping sides. Keep the lid on the frying pan. Serves 4-6.
At Home with Becky
This post is part of a weekly blog series called At Home with Becky. Each Wednesday, I share a little something from home – routines, organization, traditions, decor, etc. Coming up … an idea for Valentine’s Day, one of my New Year’s resolutions, and a favorite family tradition.