Kotlety with Sauerkraut

Having made kotlety mielone (minced meat burgers ) with first fresh and then cooked cabbage,  I started to think of a variation which in a way is more Polish!

I decided to use sauerkraut and also some fresh mushrooms  – though dried ones might even be more Polish.


500g beef mince

Half a 900g jar of sauerkraut *

150g of mushrooms

1 onion – chopped fine

2 -3  tablespoons semolina

2 eggs

Butter & sunflower oil for frying

Dried breadcrumbs  

Salt  and pepper

* I often freeze the other half of the jar in a plastic tub for another time.


Drain the sauerkraut and rinse with cold water.

Place the sauerkraut in a pan of water and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.

Drain the sauerkraut and leave to cool then dry  it with a tea towel.

Chop the sauerkraut into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Fry the chopped onion in a little hot oil and butter.

Chop the mushrooms into small pieces and add them to the onions and continue frying until the onions are lightly browned – leave the mixture to cool.

In a large bowl mix the minced meat,  the sauerkraut and onion and mushroom mixture until they are evenly mix.

Add the eggs and mix.

Add the semolina, salt and pepper and mix until you get a uniform mixture.

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.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C

Shallow fry the kotlety in hot oil, depending on the frying pan size,  you can do 4 to 5 at a time, turning them over so that both sides are done.

Place them on a  metal tray  and put in the oven and keep adding to these as you keep frying the batches.


Served here with gherkins








They were voted as delicious!


Should you have any left,  you can reheat them in sauce made with chicken or vegetable stock.


Zrazy – made with Minced Meat

These zrazy are like the ones made with braising beef in that the minced meat mixture surrounds various stuffings.

The minced meat mixture  is similar to kotlety mielone  &  pulpety – but  zrazy are cooked differently.

You take a large handful of minced meat mixture , place the stuffing on it and then close up the mixture so you have an oval shape with the stuffing on the inside.


500g minced beef

1 beaten egg

4 tablespoons of semolina

1 onion chopped and fried

Salt & pepper

plain flour for coating

Sunflower oil for frying


500ml of chicken stock

1 -2 bay leaves

3-4 Peppercorns

2-3 Allspice berries


Two stuffings often used are –

Pieces of bottled peppers








Sticks of Gouda cheese or similar



Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C

Mix the beef, fried onion, egg and semolina together.

Season with salt & pepper.

Divide the mixture into around 6 pieces

Flatten out each piece and place the stuffing in the centre.

Close up the mixture around the stuffing to make an oval shaped ball.

Dust the ball with plain flour.


Lightly seal these by browning then in hot oil.


Place the zrazy into an oven proof dish – one that has a lid – so they are not touching.

Pour in the stock – enough to have some at the bottom but do not cover the zrazy.


Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 1 -2 hours.


You can thicken the stock that the zrazy are cooked in with cornflour or you can add other ingredients such as fried mushrooms and soured cream when you come to serve them.




Two shown here – cut through – one with cheese & one with peppers,  served with a mushroom and soured cream sauce.

Served on Royal Doulton  Carnation – 1982-1998




Kotlety mielone

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.

Jasia’s  Variations

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.

Gołąbki – Cabbage Rolls


Kuchnia Polska - Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

My Polish Cookbook “bible”

A Selection of Polish Cookbooks
A Selection of Polish Cookbooks


IMG_20150715_181051975IMG_20150715_182325856Gołąbki are made using  fresh cabbage and the name means little pigeon or dove. This name comes about from its size and shape and also from to the idea of this being a little delicacy.

The cabbage leaves are used to make a little parcel with a meat and rice filling and these are then cooked in a liquid stock or sauce.

I have read that this is a very old dish which originally came from the Byzantine Empire and was made with vine leaves, as it came north; cabbage leaves replaced the vine leaves.

The main 3 ingredients are: cabbage, rice and minced meat, and you also need a liquid to cook them in, which in my mother’s case was always a stock with tomatoes.

You can use white or Savoy cabbage. White cabbage has softer more pliable leaves and I think make the best  gołąbki . Savoy cabbage has firmer leaves that are easier to work with but take longer to cook; these can be easier for a novice to use.

You need a large head of cabbage to get large leaves.

You can use any type of rice but the stickier types are the best.

The traditional Polish version uses pork.  My mother used beef as this was more readily available in England.  Now that minced pork is more  available and you do not have to hand mince it, I use either or even mix the two.

gol 3

There are many variations using, fresh or dried mushrooms, buckwheat instead of rice, and a stock without tomatoes.  In fact buckwheat is a more older version as it grows in Poland and rice would have to be imported.

This recipe is my mother’s and for me this is just right!

Mama’s Classic Recipe


1 large head of white cabbage or Savoy cabbage

400g rice

500g of minced beef or pork

chicken stock – a cube or concentrate will do

1 tube of tomato purée

salt & pepper

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 peppercorns or allspice or both

Although the gołąbki take a while to put together, you then leave them to cook in a slow oven for hours which is easy.

You can reheat them on the next day and in fact I think they taste better the longer they have been steeped in the cooking liquid and I always make them a day in advance.

They also freeze very well, so I pack any left in portions of 2 or 4 for a later date. Because of  this I like to make as big a batch as I can in one go.

I use a very large enamelled oval dish with a lid which is ideal for this.

As you need whole largish cabbage leaves I sometimes use 2 cabbages to get the bigger leaves.

You need to parboil the rice in salted water so that it is about half way to being cooked and then strain the rice and let it go cold, but if you have some plain boiled rice left from another day you could use this as this is not critical.

In a large bowl mix the rice and minced meat and add salt and pepper. The exact amounts do not matter. I like it to look about 50/50 white and pink but these can be made with much more rice to eke out the meat available.

Next comes the hardest part and patience is called for here to avoid getting scalded fingers. You have to heat or steam the cabbage to make the leaves pliable so you can remove them one by one and use them to encase the filling.

You need the largest pan you have into which you place the cabbage head. I boil some water in a kettle and pour this over the cabbage in the pan with some heat under the pan I let the cabbage cook a little. The temptation is to boil to quickly so making some of the leave too soft and runs the risk of getting scalded as you try to remove the leaves. Another method is to place the cabbage into a metal colander and set this over the pan of water so that it is steamed rather than boiled.

As the leaves become soft, you have to cut them off from the stalk and stack them up for to use later, you can cut out the thickest part of the stalk from the first few larger leaves.

Instructions from my Polish cookbook “bible”

Pre heat the oven to GM2 – 150oC

Place a small handful of the rice & meat mixture onto a cabbage leaf and roll up from the stalk end, tuck in the sides and secure with the outer edge of the leaf to make a small parcel.

Place the rolls into a large casserole dish, packing as many rolls as possible in rows in the dish. Depending on the depth of the dish repeat this for another layer.

A tip I got from my late cousin, Krystyna, is to use extra cabbage leaves on the base of the dish and then to put extra leaves on the top of the rolls.

The rolls sometimes have a habit of getting slightly burnt on the top as they come out of the liquid and sometimes at the base if they have been in the oven a long time, these extra layers protect the rolls and can be discarded at the end.

Make a large amount of liquid stock with hot water and tomato purée and add bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice.

Cover the rolls with this liquid. It is a good idea to have extra which you can use to top up as they are cooking.

Cover with the lid and place in the oven and cook for several hours. Check them occasionally and keep them covered with liquid as much as possible.

As mentioned earlier I make these a day beforehand and then put them back in the oven for an hour or so before serving.

They are a complete meal in themselves but you can give serve them with some bread to mop up all the liquid sauce.