This is a cozy homemade Eastern European dish that has been prepared in almost every Ukrainian home since childhood. The cutlets (or patties) differ from the usual burger patty in that they are a little softer, they are fully cooked, and even a little stewed. Onions and a little bit of bread are added.
Bread is needed to make the texture airy and soft. Some people add eggs. But that makes the ground meat liquidy and the texture stronger. The patties hold their shape perfectly without eggs, don’t worry. Patties can be made from white fish or ground beef or pork.
This is a comforting dish usually served with mashed potatoes. But many people like it with pasta or plain boiled rice. They are served with seasonal vegetables, depending on the time of year: with pickles or a salad of boiled beets in winter, or with fresh vegetables in summer. I eat these patties when I’m not feeling very well. It’s a common habit.
You can make the cutlets from chicken breast. I like to use chicken thighs. That way they get super juicy.
Ukrainian Chicken Cutlets
|PREP TIME||COOK TIME||MAKES|
|15 minutes||25 minutes||2 servings|
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
- 350 g (12½ oz) of chicken thigh meat, without bones and skin (or use ground chicken)
- 1 small onion (40 g, 1½ oz)
- 1 slice of white bread (35 g, 1 oz white bread crumbs)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 50 ml cream or milk
- 50 ml water
- ½ tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Pour the cream and water over the bread and let stand for 5 minutes. Squeeze the moisture out completely. Dice the onion.
- Prepare ground chicken meat. Cut the thighs into medium sized pieces (to make it easier for the processor), put the chicken meat in the bowl a of the processor, add the bread, onion, salt, and pepper. Grind it up. Leave some texture, don’t grind it too finely. You can use a meat grinder or just finely dice the chicken with a sharp knife.
- With wet hands, form 7 patties. Each one should be about 80 grams (~3 oz). You can make the patties smaller or larger, as you prefer. When you form a patty, toss it from palm to palm, as if pounding it.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet. Reduce the heat to medium. Place the patties in the skillet and cover. Fry for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and flip over. Reduce the heat and add the butter. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Turn the patties over again and add 3 tbsp of water. Cover and braise for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the liquid to reduce. The water should boil off almost completely, forming a glaze with the butter and meat juices. Cook for another 5 minutes on each side to allow the glaze to coat the patties.
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