Belarusian burger recipe

BH&T Belarus Burger RecipeMushroom and Sauerkraut smothered burger on Draniki (potato pancake)
It’s probably my juvenile sense of humor and it definitely dates me, but I can’t hear the word Belarus without thinking of Bela Lugosi and in particular his role in Bud Abbot and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, and I smile (I’m not that old, I just have always loved old movies, yes, even black and white movies – crazy, I know).  But that’s neither here nor there.


courtesy of CIA World Factbook

Belarus is a landlocked country bordered by Russian, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.  It’s another ex-Soviet country that gained independence in 1991, but still maintains close ties to Russia.  The land is flat and marshy and agriculture is a little limited.

Belarusians eat a lot of pork, so we’re going with a pork burger for this one.  Luckily for us, they enjoy mushrooms (and I do too – oh happy day).  It seems that they also like to eat potato pancakes – another lucky break.  I’ve made this with chanterelle mushrooms, but it’s almost as good with plain old button or cremini mushrooms (and a lot cheaper).  Based on my research, Belarusian potato cakes aren’t like the Swedish potato cakes, you don’t shred the potato into strips, you use the smaller side of the grater and make a mush of the potatoes.  This makes a smoother cake with more of a mashed potato like feel.  If you want a shortcut, you can use the frozen hash browns instead and just chop them up in a food processor, it’s not quite as good, but it takes less time.

The final effect is a rich oniony garlicky burger that is perfect for a cool evening and a hearty appetite. The second time I prepared the dish.  The burger fixings also worked really well with the veggie burger – I think it was one of the best veggie burgers yet, so this is a veg friendly recipe.

At the end of it all we have a pork burger on an oniony garlicky potato pancake, topped with sauerkraut and sautéed mushrooms – great for those of you living where the weather is cooling down.  It’s a bit of a heavy burger, so go light on side dishes.  The Belarusians would probably serve this with vodka, but I chose a medium body cabernet and it was perfect.

If you like this burger, check out the Czech Republic burger, it’s got potatoes and sauerkraut but also cheese, glorious cheese!

Belarus Burger
1 pound ground pork
¼ cup diced onion
1 garlic clove minced
4 Draniki (recipe below)
Sautéed Mushrooms (recipe below)
Sauerkraut (recipe below)
Sour cream (optional)

Combine pork, onion and garlic.  Mix well then form four patties.  Grill each patty until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160˚F.  Place each cooked patty on a cooked Draniki, top with Sauerkraut and Sautéed Mushrooms.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on the side (optional).

4 yukon gold potatoes
1 medium onion
2 small garlic cloves
2-4 Tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Using the small side of a grater, grate potatoes into a large bowl (this will be really mushy and liquidy – it should not be like hashbrowns).  Using same side of grater, grate onion and add to potatoes.  Crush and mince the garlic and add to mixture.  Drain excess water.  Add flour until you get a consistency like oatmeal.  Add salt and pepper.

In a large non-stick pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  For potato mixture into 4 patty shapes and place them in the oil as you form them (they will be mushy, so you won’t be able to form all four then put in pan, just place them in as you make them).  Fry the Draniki until golden (3-5 minutes), then turn and cook for another 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on the heat so that you don’t burn the Draniki, you want them on the heat long enough to cook the potatoes all the way through, but you don’t want to blacken them.  Serve warm.

BH&T Belarus draniki

Sautéed Mushrooms
2 cups chopped button mushrooms
1 cups chopped chanterelle mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
kosher salt

In large non-stick sauté pan, heat butter over med-high heat, add mushrooms and sauté until just browned and soft.  Salt to taste.  Serve warm.

2 cups sauerkraut
1 medium onion sliced into eighths lengthwise
olive oil

Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes or until onions are beginning to soften and turn translucent.  Add sauerkraut and turn heat down to low.  Cook for 10-15 minutes over low heat.  Serve warm.

BH&T Belarus sauerkraut

© Copyright 2011 Linda Monach

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8 Responses to Belarusian burger recipe

  1. chris says:

    Great recipe, as always. If I may suggest something, could you also tag your recipes according to the type of meat you use ? It would be easier to search for something depending on what we have in the fridge.

  2. Pasquale Pascarella says:

    Our work is having a Eurovision Song contest (2011) and i have drawn Belarus out of the hat and had been struggling to find recipes online. When i came across this recipe and saw the picture of the dish i knew instantly that this has to be made. Lets hope i can do it justice, after all worst case scenario i will eat them all for myself haha

    Thanks for the recipe in advanced


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  4. Rick T says:

    My next stop should have been Barbados, but I have one person here who avoids fish and another who avoids pork. My anti-fish girlfriend was here, and my anti-pork daughter was gone, so, I postponed Barbados until that situation is reversed, and tackled this pork recipe instead.

    Everyone at my house, and I include myself here, looked at this one with some skepticism. The whole notion of sauerkraut on a burger just raised everybody’s eyebrows. But I was pleased with how it turned out, and absolutely no one complained. For the Bangladesh burger I said that some of the burgers were notable for the components and some for the way that they all interacted. This recipe, I think is definitely one of the latter. I really expected the sauerkraut to just dominate the taste (and not in a good way) but IMHO, it was more of a supporting player, an acidic counterpoint to the more earthy garlic-onion-browned meat flavor that’s at the center. When the ride is over, I don’t know that I’m going to call Belarus here back for a repeat engagement, but I’m certainly glad I made it, because I learned something from it. I paired it with a Loosen “Dr L” Riesling, which I think is a great value and which gave a nice semi-sweet balance to the heartier taste of the burger.

    • linda says:

      I’m so glad you are continuing through this project, it’s great to have another perspective. I too was surprised by Belarus for all the same reasons. I think that basing the burgers on traditional flavor pairings is making me have a greater appreciation for traditional food…it’s been around so long because it works.

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  6. Roberta says:

    Very nice! We do greens and crrnboead for New Year’s Eve (the wife doesn’t like black-eyed peas). Maybe I can talk her into pork chops next time.I enjoy your blog Happy New Year!

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