Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kolduny: Potato Pancakes Stuffed with Ground Meat

We don't make a lot of Russian food in our home. Maybe because we grew up eating it, we have an aversion to it. Maybe because there are so many other delicious things we love to eat and we don't want to limit ourselves to the food that we ate as children. Personally, I don't find much excitement or inspiration from Eastern European foods. Until a few nights ago.

During a bout of insomnia, I was watching an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  Somewhere in the heart of Texas (yes, TEXAS!!!) a Russian family was sharing their culture through food and tchotchke with their community. One of the dishes highlighted was something that I had never heard of before. Ground meat neatly sandwiched between two potato pancakes!  How is it possible that I've never seen or eaten this delicacy before?

I emailed my mom and my sister.  Frustrated that they weren't responding to me at 3am, I started Googling recipes and bookmarked about 1/2 dozen, most of which were in Russian and Google translator wasn't doing a stellar job of proper translation.  The following morning, my mom spoke the truth, "your dad doesn't consider ground meat to be real food, so I never made it."  She walked me through the concept of making the dish and I set forth.

Quick note about the idiosyncrasy of the dish's name: Depending on which part of Eastern Europe you're from, this can be called Kolduny, Zrazy, Draniki s Myasom.  Regardless of the name you choose, they're simply delicious!


Peel potatoes (I only used 5 of these)

1 medium onion
 (3/4 will be roughly chopped, 1/4 will be finely diced)

Diced Potato about to go into the blender

Puree roughly chopped onions and potatoes.
I worked in batches, starting with the onions and adding one potato at a time.


I was really surprised that it liquefied beautifully without the addition of any liquid.


Combine the liquefied potato, flour, egg, salt and pepper


Combine ground meats with diced onion


Form into patties


Place a large spoon of potato batter onto a pan with hot oil.
Flatten meat patty a bit as you place it on top of the potato batter.

Add potato batter on top of the meat patty.
Slightly less batter than went down to form the potato base, just enough to cover the meat.

Flip over using a spatula on the bottom while holding the meat patty in place with your fingers.

Kolduny!!

Kolduny (Potato Pancakes Stuffed with Ground Meat)

Makes 9 potato meat patties

Ingredients

23 ounces fresh potato (about 5 medium sized potatoes), peeled and cut into small cubes 
3/4 medium onion, roughly chopped
2/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour (or GF AP flour)
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound ground beef

1/4 medium onion, finely diced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil for the pan

Directions

1. Put the diced potatoes and roughly chopped onions into a blender.  Liquify.  You may need to use a wooden spoon to push the solids down to get a nice puree.  I worked in batches, starting with the onions and adding one potato at a time.
2. Pour the liquefied potato and onion into a bowl and add flour, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix with a large spoon.
3. Mix the chicken, beef, finely chopped onions, kosher salt and pepper. Form 9 thin patties, about 4 inches in diameter.

4. Heat canola oil in a pan on Medium/High (maybe a little closer to Medium).
5. Place a large spoon (about 4 Tablespoons) of potato batter in the pan. 3 potato batter patties fit on my pan.
6. As a crust forms on the bottom, lay a meat patty on top of the batter. Flatten the meat patty a bit, as you place it on top of the potato batter.
7. Spoon more potato batter over the meat (about 2-3 Tablespoons).
8. After about 2 minutes, using a spatula on the fried side and your finger on the uncooked patty, flip potato goodness over slowly. 
9. Cover with a lid and allow to fry for another 5 minutes. 
10. If you feel that the first side needs some more crunch, re-flip.
11. Remove from pan, allow to cool and enjoy immediately!
12. Repeat for remaining potato batter and meat patties.

Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

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