There is a little bit of linguistic confusion with this dish – I have noticed it in most translations for this recipe.
Kotlety is the Polish word for cutlets or chops as discussed in my last post.
Mielone means minced – so kotlety mielone are what in the USA are called meat patties or now in England as burgers.
My mother called both dishes kotlety – I would realise from the ingredients as to which dish was being prepared in the kitchen.
We had kotlety mielone once a week at home, any left would be heated up in a sauce, often mushroom, the next day.
In Poland they would have been made with minced pork but previously this was hard to get and my mother found it hard work to use a hand mincer, so she made hers with minced beef using the beef that the butcher would mince for her.
In her original recipe she would use an onion which was grated finely; this was the job that was often delegated to me! Later on she changed her recipe and would chop up the raw onion finely and fry this up lightly and let it go cold before adding it to the mince mixture. I now like this second version better, but both are good and you can even do half and half.
Nowadays I use an electric mini chopper to “grate” the onion.
I used beef in this recipe for years and then tried pork, and also half and half; I like the ones half and half the best, however I always make sure it is lean pork mince.
500g minced beef or pork, or 250g of each
1 beaten egg
1 slice of white bread or bread roll, left for half an hour in a bowl with a little milk – do not use the excess milk just the wet slightly squeezed bread
1 onion finely grated, or chopped and fried till golden brown and left to cool. (or half and half)
1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or similar
Ground black pepper
Dried breadcrumbs – home made see Breadcrumbs – Bułka tarta
Sunflower oil for frying
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together except for the dried breadcrumbs, it is best to do this using both hands, making sure that all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
If the mixture seems too wet then add a tablespoon full of dried breadcrumbs and mix this in.
Pour some dried breadcrumbs onto a large plate or board.
Try to make each one the same size, take a handful of the mixture and press it between your hands to make a flattened circle and then place this in the dried breadcrumbs and turn it over to cover both sides and edges.
Once coated place them on a tray dusted with breadcrumbs until you have used all the mixture up.
Shallow fry the kotlety in hot oil, depending on the frying pan size, you can do 3 to 4 at a time, turning them over so that both sides are done. Place them on kitchen roll on a plate or metal tray till they are all cooked – you can keep them warm in a low oven.
I usually serve them with creamy mashed potatoes or lightly buttered boiled rice.
Here they are served with a beetroot & apple salad see Buraki – Buraczki – Beetroots – Beets.
I also like them with any sauerkraut or cabbage salad see Sauerkraut Salads and Cabbage Salad.
Sometimes I add some finely chopped peppers or chillies to the mixture and serve them with boiled rice.
You can make the kotlety with minced chicken or turkey.
In Poland many people think that ones made with minced veal are the best.
My cousin Janina (Jasia is the diminutive) in her farm house in the Mazurian lakes in North East Poland made some kotlety mielone which had an addition to the usual recipe. Each one had a small piece of stuffing inside. The meat recipe was the same as was the method of cooking but when she was making them, she placed a little extra at the centre and this added an extra dimension to an old favourite.
The stuffing she used was one of the following:
A cube of cheese – the type which will melt like Gouda or cheddar
A chunk of pickled gherkin.
A thick slice of fried mushroom.
The Next Day
You can eat any kotlety you have left, cold with mustard and any salad.
However if I have any kotlety left, I often re-heated them in a sauce in the oven, my favourite is mushroom sauce.
I often just make a very quick sauce by frying up some sliced mushrooms in a little butter, adding some stock (mushroom or chicken – made from a stock cube). Add the kotlety into the pan and heat them through in the oven for around 1 hour.
Add some soured cream mixed with a tablespoon of corn flour and out this back in the oven for a while or continue heating it on a top burner.
Super served with creamy mashed potatoes – sprinkle chopped dill or parsley over them before serving.
Served on Carnation (1982 – 1998) by Royal Doulton.