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Polish Hamburgers (Klupskies)

Called mielone kotlety or klupskies, these are not your basic burger.

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When you think of a hamburger, you probably think bun, patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard, and maybe a slice of cheese. Polish Hamburgers are not that. Polish Hamburgers are often served more akin to the Salisbury Steak — a dinner situation where ground meat is used in patty form, but it’s served with a delicious gravy.

That’s the idea here, except that Polish Hamburgers are extra hearty — made up of both beef and pork and stuffed with crushed saltines, chopped bell peppers, and more and then simmered in a velvety mushroom gravy to boot. It’s a rustic, stick-to-your-ribs kind of recipe, and it’s entirely delicious.

These are not for the faint of heart. You’re going to start with two pounds of meat here — half pork and half beef — and form that into six patties, which means that each patty is about a third of a pound. But that’s just the meat — there’s also some eggs, milk, and crushed saltines as a binder (trust me, it works), chopped onion and bell pepper, and some dill, garlic powder, parsley, and nutmeg in there too.

Once you mix that all together and form it into mondo patties, you want to let those patties rest on a sheet pan for about a half hour just to let the flavors meld (and the saltine crumbs hydrate). (This is a good time to slice your mushrooms.)

Then you’ll brown the patties in butter. You don’t have to worry about cooking them through at this point; that will happen later when they simmer in the sauce. You do, however, want to brown the patties in batches since they’re so large.

With all the patties out of the skillet, you’ll build the sauce, which is just a matter of cooking some mushrooms down in butter along with some Worcestershire and garlic, and then stirring in some flour, followed by some beef stock.

At this point the patties can head back in to simmer. (As you can see, a big pan is necessary!)

The simmering process should take about thirty minutes and you’ll finish it all off by stirring in some sour cream. It gives it a little bit of a stroganoff vibe.

Which means that these are absolutely perfect over mashed potatoes or egg noodles. (Personally, I will always take an opportunity to eat more mashed potatoes.)

Called mielone kotlety, which translates to “ground cutlets,” or klupskies, you’ll sometimes find these with veal in the mix as well or served on rye bread instead of in a gravy. Like any good regional dish, these have as many iterations as there are families who make them.

Yield(s): Serves 6

15m prep time

45m cook time

30m inactive

4.7
Rated 4.7 out of 5
Rated by 32 reviewers

Allergens: Eggs, Milk

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For the patties:
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of dried dill
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
For the mushroom sauce:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground pork, ground beef, crushed saltines, milk, eggs, onion, bell pepper, dill, garlic powder, parsley, and nutmeg. Season generously with both salt and pepper and mix until well combined.
  3. Form mixture into six patties, about 2 inches thick each. Transfer patties to prepared baking sheet and let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Once patties have rested, heat the 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer 2-3 patties to the skillet and brown well on the first side before turning, about 5-7 minutes. Flip, and sear on the second side until well browned.
  5. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to rest while you finish browning the remaining patties.
  6. Next, make the mushroom sauce:
  7. Add remaining butter to the skillet, followed by the mushrooms. Add the Worcestershire sauce and garlic and cook, stirring often and scraping up any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in beef stock until smooth, then bring mixture to a simmer.
  9. Add patties back to the pan, then cover with a lid, reduce heat, and let simmer 30 minutes.
  10. Uncover, stir in sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Tipsy Housewife.