Eastern European Kotlety (Meat Patties)
While growing up, my Polish-Russian grandmother, who lived with our family, made these little meat patties quite often and they were a family favorite. Here is my rendition, from what I remember when cooking with Grandma, as she never wrote the recipe down. The patties were always served with mashed potatoes, green beans, applesauce, and, of course, plenty of ketchup for the patties.
ground beef, lean
or ground sirloin
finely minced (optional)
whisked until frothy
finely crushed (Heritage Mills Classic Lunch Milk or other milk crackers)
or half and half
(solid Crisco) or vegetable oil, for pan frying
Mix all ingredients except the shortening/oil together in a large bowl. In another small bowl, pour some cold water. This water will be needed to rinse hands between shaping each patty so meat does not stick to your hands.
Heat the shortening/oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.
Dip your hands in the water bowl and take enough meat mixture to form a patty about 3 inches in diameter and about 1¼ inches thick. Place patty in shortening/oil in heated skilled (should sizzle upon making contact). Rinse hands and repeat until all the meat mixture is used up (should make about 10 to 12 patties). Sear patties 2 minutes on each side, lower heat to low and cook, turning occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until patties are no longer pink inside (do not cover skillet as patties will become mushy from the condensation).
Remove patties from skillet to drain on paper towels.
NOTE: Grandma used to make these with Nabisco Royal Lunch Milk crackers...they have been discontinued for some years now. Instead, I used Heritage Mills Classic Lunch Milk crackers (made in Canada) which I purchased at my local Demoulas Market Basket store. However, any other similar milk cracker may be used in this recipe.