Mushroom 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.
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!
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.
2 cups chopped button mushrooms
1 cups chopped chanterelle mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
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
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.
© Copyright 2011 Linda Monach