There’s a new cookbook gracing our humble abode – Please To The Table The Russian Cookbook. What fun!

Now, I’m an Irish kid from San Francisco. My knowledge of Russian and eastern European foods is pretty much limited to vodka and caviar, so what a treat it is to see so many new foods to try! The book covers everywhere from “The Baltics to Uzbekistan” – and that’s quite a lot of food! I mean – they’re talking some 6 million square miles! The cuisine – and recipes – are as varied as the people.

In just a quick perusal, I’ve found dozens of goodies I want to try, but tonight I settled on the Pozharskiye Kotleti or, for the English-speaking amongst us, Chicken Croquettes Pozharsky, for the main reason that I had all the ingredients at home already! That, and I have a very vague recollection of a restaurant I worked in back around 1974/5 that served Chicken and Veal Croquettes with a Mushroom Sauce… The Red Chimney… But I digress…

From the book: “These fluffy, delicate ground chicken and veal croquettes are traditionally accompanied by smothered mushrooms. I often serve Mushrooms sauteed with Madeira alongside.” I took the authors advice! They were fantastic!

The recipe makes 12 croquettes. I cooked up 8 – 2 each for dinner and the others for lunch tomorrow – and froze the other 4 uncooked.

I actually ground my own chicken and veal because, well… I have a grinder attachment to the KitchenAid, and I already had both chicken and veal in the freezer – but it wasn’t ground! Besides, I haven’t used the grinder attachment in a while, and I’m sure it was feeling neglected down there in that bottom cabinet! The croquettes were easy to form, but it was a bit of a challenge dipping them in the egg and then the crumbs – but, I had it down after the first few.

The recipe…

  • 3 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast meat
  • 3/4 lb ground veal
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 9 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp madeira
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large egg white
  • About 1 1/2 cups unflavored fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten, for dipping the chicken
  • 4 tbsp light vegetable oil

1) Soak the bread slices in the cream for 10 minutes. Squeeze the bread to remove any excess cream. Then discard all but 3 tbsp of the cream.

2) In a food processor, combine the bread, cream, chicken, veal, onion, 3 tbsp butter, the egg yolks, Meadeira, dill (if using), and salt and pepper. Process for 3 or 4 pulses until well blended but not pureed. Transfer to a large bowl.

3) Beat the egg white until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold it into the meat mixture. If the mixture seems too loose to form into croquettes, cover, and refrigerate to firm up, 1 hour.

4) have a bowl of cold water ready. Dip your hands in the cold water to prevent the meat from sticking to your hands. Shape the mixture into 12 oval croquettes.

5) Sprinle the breadcrumbs on a cutting board or other flat surface. Dip the croquettes into the beaten egg, then roll them in the breadcrumbs to coat well.

6) Heat 2 tbsp of the remaining butter and 2 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet. Fry 6 of the croquettes over medium heat until crispy and brown, 12 to 15 minutes. The juices should run clear when a croquette is pierced with a fork. Repeat with the rest of the croquettes, adding more butter and oil as needed. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

I followed the basic instructions, except I mixed it all by hand, since I actually ground the onion and the soaked bread with the chicken and veal (I LOVE my grinder, I have to USE it more often!!) I also refrigerated it for a couple of hours, because I made it early in the afternoon.

Served with mashed potatoes, broccoli, and the mushroom madeira sauce and it was a pretty good nosh!