Russian Pozharsky cutlets + the love for old cookbooks

I no longer own a lot of things. As years go by and we continue to move from one place to another, I’ve been holding on to less and less material things. I don’t own a single purse. I buy clothes when I absolutely need them. I make my own artwork, instead of buying it… You get the idea.

There are two types of items, however, that I do keep as my dearest possessions: a handful of unique food styling plates and a handful of old cookbooks. They always end up in the “It makes me happy” pile and follow me wherever I go. One of those books is called Mi Cocina Rusa (My Russian Kitchen) by Ediciones Castell, and it was a beautiful gift from a longtime friend.

The pages in this cookbook have slightly faded and the book itself smells years old. The layout of the recipes and the illustrations are beautifully imperfect. And the food styling in the pictures is also very rustic and old school. When I was a kid, those were precisely the details that captivated me and encouraged me to start cooking and plating.

I make a point to try and experiment with the recipes in my cookbooks, although I have to say that this Russian cookbook is particularly challenging. I don’t always have access to some of the ingredients and most of the recipes are also very time consuming and incredibly complicated. The delicious Pozharsky cutlets is one of the exceptions.

Imagine a huge chicken McNugget that is 100 times better and without any of the preservatives and weird ingredients that you’ll expect from a fast-food chain. Plus, it tastes even better if you pair it with an equally amazing mushroom sauce, inspired by the classic baked mushroom recipe Gribi v Smetane.

The best part is that you can totally freeze the chicken mix and make more patties a week or so later. Now, let’s get cooking!

Pozharsky Cutlets
  • 1.5 Cups of diced boneless chicken (use dark or white meat or a mix)
  • 2.5 Cups of bread crumbs
  • 1/3 Cup of milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Frying oil

1. Using a food processor, grind the meat until slightly smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add the eggs, milk and half of the breadcrumbs. Pulse again until everything is combined.

2. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Form the mixture into patties. If the mixture is too soft, sprinkle more breadcrumbs.

4. Cover each patty in breadcrumbs and fry in hot oil.

5. Let the patties rest on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Mushroom sauce with pickles
  • 3 Cups of mushrooms
  • 1 Small onion roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • ½ Cup of chopped dill pickles
  • ½ Cup of cream
  • Olive oil
  • Nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried or fresh parsley
1. In a large skillet, sauté the onions with a drizzle of olive oil.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the pickles, cream, butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

3. Serve over the chicken patties with some parsley.


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