Beef Cutlets (Kotleti) recipe is a great easy dinner idea when you are craving comfort food, and a perfect meal for kids.
This recipe has many different names. Depending on the country and culture, people would call it Croquettes, Cutlets, Patties, or Kotleti. Despite various names, they are all cutlet shaped patties made of ground meat, covered with breadcrumbs, and fried on a skillet.
Please check my other dinner ideas:
- Meatballs with Rice (Tefteli)
- Sweet and Sour Chicken with Orange and Maple Syrup Glaze
- Mac’N’Cheese with Canadian Bacon
History of Cutlets:
It is hard to tell the original history of these cutlets as they were appearing in different countries under different names and varieties.
In Eastern Europe and Russia, they are known as Kotleti. I would say that Pozharsky Cutlets are the most popular version of these juicy and tender meat patties. They were created in Russia in the beginning on the 19th century and later were adopted by French cuisine. Pozharsky Cutlets usually have a few extra steps in the recipe, like adding milk soaked bread and butter to the ground meat to make kotleti extra soft and juicy.
According to the history, Pozharsky Cutlets were created by the Pozharsky family who owned a small rest stop and a restaurant, called Torzhok, located between Moscow and St. Petersburg. It was a popular place for travelers to rest and change horses during their long trips. It is interesting that this place and kotleti were mentioned in one of the letters by Russian famous poet and writer Alexander Pushkin to his friend S. A. Sobolevsky in 1826, “dine at Pozharsky in Torzhok, try fried cutlets and set out with a light mood”.
There are a few legends that exist about how these juicy meat patties came to life. The most reiterated tale says that the recipe was given to the Pozharsky family by a poor French traveler as a payment for his accommodation.
Varieties of Cutlets:
Today you can find all different types of kotleti. I think that the most popular varieties are cutlets with beef, or chicken, or fish, or potatoes. Potato cutlets are one of my favorite from Russian food, and I will definitely share my recipe with you sometime soon!
Vegetarian cutlets is a new trend and they can include chickpeas, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and many others nutritious ingredients.
How to make Cutlets:
There are quite a few recipes on how to make beef cutlets. Some people use mix of ground beef and turkey, others include beaten egg whites to make these cute fried patties soft and juicy. I use my mom’s old recipe which is very easy to make and has a beautiful flavor.
To start, I hand mix 1 ½ pound of ground beef, chopped onion, and one egg. I want to make a note that I prefer to buy 85% ground beef instead of 90%. It has a perfect balance of fat that gives you extra flavor and doesn’t make it too greasy. For the onion, I like to grind it in the food processor, so I get more juices that also will enhance the flavors of your cutlets. Season the mixture with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a little bit of red pepper flakes. This last ingredient will give it an extra kick but it won’t make it too spicy.
After you mix everything well, I like to use a 3 tbsp scoop to scoop the mixture and form it into oval patties. Then dip them in bread crumbs so they are covered from all the sides.
Preheat a large skillet on a medium heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of butter. Depending on diameter of your skillet, you might want to add one extra tablespoon of oil. Sauté the cutlets for about 5 minutes on each side, covered with a top lid. To make sure they are cooked inside, just cut one of the cutlets with a knife. It should be still juicy but without blood.
- 1 1/2 pound ground beef (85%)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1-2 tablesoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, chopped onion, an egg, and seasoning (salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes).
Using a 3 tbsp scoop, scoop the mixture and form into oval patties. Dip them into dry bread crumbs, so they are covered with it from all the sides.
Preheat a large skillet on a medium heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of butter. Depending on diameter of your skillet, you might want to add one extra tablespoon of oil. Sauté the cutlets for about 5 minutes on each side, covered with a top lid.
To make sure they are cooked inside, just cut one of the cutlets with a knife. It should be still juicy but without blood.