These beef cutlets are a good example of a typical Polish main dish. The cutlets are wonderfully flavorful and tender. In fact, they are still tasty at room temperature. Just cut into slices and use instead of deli meats for sandwiches. At Polish catered events, you will likely see large platters of cold meats and might happen to see this as one of the cold meat options. Place a couple of slices on a piece of rye bread, spread the slices with brown mustard, top with a pickle or cucumber slice, and you are set. If served warm, they may be served with or without sauce. The sauce of choice is a mushroom sauce. In my family, given the calorie count of mushroom sauce, we’ve been sticking to making these without sauce, and they’re still a hit.
My recipe below makes a big batch – as many as 24 single-serving cutlets. So if you need to bring a potluck dish to feed a crowd (like a Polish church potluck!), this could be the recipe for you! Alternatively, you could use the recipe to make a big batch and then freeze the cutlets in portions for future dinners that can be whipped up like magic. What we do at home is freeze the pre-cooked patties by wrapping a few together in plastic wrap, placing the packet in a gallon Ziploc bag, and then storing the bag of patties in the freezer. A few hours before dinner, pull out the bag from the freezer, defrost them, and then fry the patties as directed in the recipe below – total frying time is 19 minutes.
If the recipe makes too big a batch for your needs, check out the Note at the bottom of the recipe for downsized ingredients. After the recipe is a step-by-step tutorial with photos and a link to a recipe for mushroom sauce in case you are interested. Hope to see you after the recipe!
First, if your beef (chuck or even round roast) isn’t already ground, you’ll need to do it yourself. I don’t have a meat grinder unfortunately, so I use my Cuisinart food processor to do the job. I don’t get the same results (it’s a little mushy like baby food), but it’s good enough!
Cut up the meat into thick slices and then chunks. Grind or process in batches.
Put the ground beef in a large bowl so you can easily mix all the ingredients together by hand. Below is what the meat looks like after being processed in the food processor. A little strange, but it works.
Saute the chopped onions and, after cooling down for about 10 minutes, add them to the bowl. No need to mix the onions in yet.
Add the salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, milk, and four eggs. Mix with your hands until fully incorporated.
Form oblong patties, about 5-inch/12.5 cm in length.
Place on a tray to get them ready for frying. I could only fit 18 in the tray so . . . .
the rest stayed in the bowl.
I wasn’t planning to take them to a potluck, but instead had the idea of storing them for a future dinner. I wrapped 6 at a time in plastic wrap. Then I slipped the packet of raw patties into a gallon Ziploc bag and placed them in the freezer.
This time around, I froze 18!
For the ones you decide to fry for dinner, heat up a large pan with some olive oil on medium high. Place the patties in the preheated pan. Don’t put too many in the pan at once. There should be sufficient space around each patty. My pan comfortably fits six at a time.
Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the cover and then fry an additional 5 minutes, which totals 7 minutes for side #1. Flip over each patty to fry the other side.
Fry side #2 for 7 minutes. Reduce the temperature to low, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes. That totals 19 minutes of cooking time.
If you have more than one batch to fry, then remove the fully cooked cutlets from the frying pan and transfer them to another pan or large baking dish and keep them warm while you fry the remaining patties. Scrape out the bits that are stuck to the pan with a spatula to sort of clean out the pan (great to put in a sauce if you are also make one), pour some new olive oil into the pan, and fry the next batch. Repeat the process for any remaining batches. Serve warm, or as a described at the beginning of this post, serve at room temperature, sliced and spread with mustard or other condiment.
And there you have it: Polish beef cutlets!
The cutlet in these photos is surrounded by simple, but typical Polish sides: boiled potatoes tossed in sour cream (and usually dill, though we didn’t have any dill at the time), a slaw made from sauerkraut and grated carrots, and fresh tomato wedges sprinkled with some salt and chopped chives. This is down home cooking, Polish-style. Smacznego!
If you are interested in also preparing a Polish mushroom sauce, click the link for Hussar Roast Beef. The second part of the recipe includes a recipe for mushroom sauce.