Russian Chicken Croquettes (Pozharskie Kotlety) & How to Grind Meat in a Food Processor

November 11, 2011

in Main Dishes, Recipes, Russian & Azerbaijani


This here is my take on another Russian classic – ground chicken patties, lightened with slices of crustless white bread soaked in milk or cream, rolled in bread crumbs, and sauteed in a combination of butter and oil. This addition of dairy-soaked bread is fairly common for Russian ground-meat dishes, resulting in richer, juicier, and more delicate patties than our familiar American hamburgers.

I decided to additionally ramp up the the patties with grated onions and rubbed sage (a choice I am still debating since rubbed sage can be overpowering if you are not careful with the amount). I also decided to encase whole “fingers” of cold butter inside each patty, Chicken Kiev-style, so it could melt during the cooking and come flowing out once the patties are cut. It was only later that I realized that I could have skipped the sage and used flavored compound butter instead of plain.

As to meat, I used a whole chicken breast and two tenderloins (the long, narrow muscles tucked under each breast in a chicken) and ground it all in a food processor (details below).

I also happened to be out of milk and cream when I was about to make this, so I soaked my bread slices in yogurt thinned with some water (the difference was undetectable). I also used slices from the same loaf to make homemade toasted breadcrumbs for rolling the patties (also below).

I then I sauteed my patties in a mixture of butter and oil and finished them in a hot oven. Everyone in my family loved these, even the kids, because, when you think of it, these here are nothing other than giant homemade chicken nuggets and, as such, have some universal kid appeal.

How to Grind Meat in a Food Processor

I’ve used this method for both beef and chicken, and it works great every time. If you are grinding beef (for some other recipe), be sure to trim it the best you can of any connective tissue and gristle. You don’t need to worry about that with chicken breast, as it has virtually none.

Cut your trimmed meat in roughly 1/2″ by 1/2″-inch chunks. Place about 2 C of meat cubes in a food processor and pulse it several times for 3-seconds at a time until your meat begins to turn to mush. Now depress the “ON” button and process your meat continuously for another 10 seconds, or until it’s all ground-up and fluffy. Expect your food-processor-ground meat to be fluffier and not nearly as packed as the butcher stuff. Remove the finished product into a separate bowl and proceed with the rest.

Homemade Toasted Bread Crumbs

I wanted my coating to be pretty crispy and golden, so I cut a few slices of white bread, removed the crusts (note that my crusty homemade bread is denser than most supermarket white bread you’ll find in this country, so your results may or may not be quite the same), and toasted them in the oven at 450 degrees until they began to turn golden. I then cooled them and ground them in a food processor, which didn’t give me the crumbs quite as fine as I wanted since the bread was still soft inside and hard to grind. I decided they could be toasted a bit more, poured them back onto the rimmed cookie sheet I’d been using, and toasted them a little longer until they turned really golden (some of the crumbs turned brown). I then cooled the crumbs and ground them up again, at which point I thought they were perfect – slightly crunchy and definitely the right color.

I like to serve mine with fried potatoes of one kind or another (which, in my mind, would be the Russian way to do it). Here are some options:

Best Oven Fries

Paprika-and-Cinnamon Potato Wedges

Russian Fried Potatoes

Skillet-Roasted Potatoes

{ 1 comment }

1 OGO November 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

What a timely post! Yesterday I decided to grind my own chicken for burgers topped with marinara tonight. Thanks for the help!

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