Friday, June 14, 2013

Kotleti (Chicken Cutlets)

No other image makes me think of home cooking as much as this picture of a greasy towel stacked with chicken cutlets fresh out of the frying pan. Growing up with a busy, successful, working Russian mother who still was able to make dinner every single night, these were a staple at our table at least two nights a week. The simple and savory flavor coupled with minimal labor makes cutlete an ideal dinner option. Served with rice or pasta, dinner is quickly served. Don't forget the pickle!

There is no other way to mix these ingredients other than by just rolling up your sleeves and diving your hands deep into the bowl. Mush and blend...and maybe enjoy the sensation of all the squishing between your fingers a little bit.

The second the first cutlets hit the frying pan, the sizzling and spattering of hot oil quickly became a safety hazard! It would be wise to invest in a splatter screen (like these) to protect yourself when frying cutlets, or anything on a pan. I made the decision to endure the pain, knowing that with each pop of oil on my wrist, I was becoming a truly seasoned Russian cook! 

The smell of the onions with the slightly burning edges of the cutlets immediately transport me back to parent's house; I'm 14 and sitting on my bed after school watching TV while the powerful scent swims through the air from the kitchen to my nose, accompanied by the sound of the hissing oil. This feeling is the definition of my comfort and I was glad to bring it into my own home.

Kotleti (Chicken Cutlets) 
Just like mom's

1lb ground chicken
1 egg
1/4 bread crumbs
1 small onion (grated)
vegetable oil
salt/pepper to taste

1. Soak bread crumbs in 1/2 cup of water until all water is absorbed
2. Using your hands, mix chicken, egg, grated onion, and breadcrumbs in a bowl 
3. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium high heat
4. Form patties with hands
5. Cook cutlets until browned on both sides and cooked through (about 3-4 minutes per side)
6. Place cooked cutlets on paper towel when done to absorb extra oil

Yields approximately 20 cutlets that keep for 3-4 days in the fridge

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