Polish Chicken Patties

Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Ashkenazi Jewish Family Recipe

Two months ago our Israeli friends came to town for a family wedding. Whenever Hagai, Limor, Karin and Lidan come to visit, it’s like a whirlwind passes through our home. They light up our world with the energy of their home country and an unquenchable enthusiasm for life. On this most recent visit, they shared a recipe for Polish Chicken Patties (ktzitzot) handed down from Hagai’s side of the family. It all started with a man named Moshe and a woman named Tola.

Hagai’s father, Moshe Stroweiss, was born in Łódź, Poland in 1912. During the war Moshe and his whole family ended up in the Nazi concentration camps; Moshe was imprisoned in Auschwitz. He survived and was liberated in 1945. Moshe spent 3 years traveling through Europe trying to locate his relatives. He eventually realized that he was likely the only survivor of his family. In 1948, he left Europe and made his home in Israel.

This is where Moshe’s life story takes a happier turn. In Israel he met a young woman named Tola Sohachevsky. Tola was born in Łódź, Poland in 1914. In 1932 she moved to Israel with her family and became a nurse with the British army. After the war Tola met Moshe. The two fell in love, and Tola Sohachevsky became Tola Stroweiss. The couple started a family together and eventually had children, one of them being our friend Hagai.

Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Ashkenazi Jewish Family Recipe

Hagai and Limor

We’ve known Hagai and his ex-wife Limor for many years. Yes, you read that right, ex-wife. Hagai and Limor remained good friends after their divorce (in fact, they both agree they make much better friends than spouses!). Together they have two children, Karin and Lidan. We consider them all an Israeli extension of our family, and we love them dearly. Karin and Lidan call me their “Doda” (the Hebrew word for Auntie).

Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Ashkenazi Jewish Family Recipe

Limor making sauce for the ktzizot

On their last visit, I asked Limor to teach me one of the Polish recipes handed down to her by Hagai’s mother, Tola, who passed away not long ago. She immediately decided on one of their family favorites, a comforting dish she calls Polish Chicken Patties– in Hebrew they are known as ktzitzot (the Hebrew word for little meat patties). Her son Lidan was eager to help. Lidan is currently serving in the Israeli army, but was able to take a short leave for the wedding. I was so happy to have him with us, especially in the kitchen. Lidan loves to cook! We tease him that maybe he’ll follow in my footsteps someday. I’m sure he’ll go on to much greater things.

Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Ashkenazi Jewish Family Recipe

Lidan loves to cook. That’s our little maltese Momo in the background. He’s really hoping that Lidan will “accidentally” drop a meatball…

Limor and Lidan walked us through the whole process of this simple Polish recipe. These yummy, garlicky chicken patties can be fried or cooked in sauce, or both. Frying them will brown the surface and add more flavor. If you’re trying to save on calories you can cook the patties directly in the sauce (we tried it with a couple of test patties and it worked), but Limor recommends frying first for a more authentic flavor. If you fry them you can also serve them separately from the sauce.

Limor recommends that the vegetables be shredded or hand grated very fine. She used an Israeli meatball spice blend in the patties. Since many of you don’t have access to kosher markets or Israeli spices, I have replicated the flavor of the blend with easy-to-find spices below. I added a bit more spice than Limor did to enhance the flavor; if you prefer, you can use an Israeli meatball spice blend and adjust the amount to taste (start with 1 tbsp of spice blend and add more if needed). We used breadcrumbs for the patties, but matzo meal could easily be subbed to make this recipe kosher for Passover. I’ve simplified things a bit by using one pan for both the sauce and the meatballs. I really loathe doing dishes, so I’m always looking to cut down the amount of dirty pots and pans. If you want to get it done faster, feel free to use two pans to cook the patties and the sauce simultaneously.

Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Ashkenazi Jewish Family Recipe

Don’t you just love this picture? This is one happy kitchen! It’s a memory and a recipe I will always cherish. I’m excited to share it with you. Thank you Limor, Hagai, Lidan, and Karin. Also we musn’t forget to thank Tola Stroweiss, of blessed memory, who handed down this recipe all the way from Łódź, Poland!

What do you think of Polish food? Are you a fan?

Polish Chicken Patties

Chicken Patty Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken (I prefer dark meat)
  • 1 lb ground turkey, 85% lean
  • 1 small carrot, grated fine
  • 1 small zucchini, grated fine
  • 1 small onion, grated or minced very fine
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs (or more if needed) - for Passover use matzo meal
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or more if needed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, shredded fine
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas (optional)

You will also need

  • hand grater or food processor with shredding disc attachment with fine holes, mixing bowls, large sauté pan with high sides and a lid
Total Time: 1:30 - 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Servings: 25 patties
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Trim zucchini, peel carrots and onion. Grate the vegetables with a hand grater or food processor with shredding disc attachment with fine holes. I suggest using a food processor, you can hand grate if you prefer. You can mince the onion rather than grate if you prefer, as long as you mince it very fine.
  • Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Jewish Family RecipeIn a mixing bowl, combine grated zucchini, carrots and onion.
  • Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Jewish Family RecipeAdd breadcrumbs, beaten egg and spices. Stir until combined.
  • Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Jewish Family RecipeAdd ground chicken and turkey. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
  • Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Jewish Family RecipeForm the mixture into patties with 1/4 cup of meat mixture each. The mixture is slightly sticky; I like to spray my hands with a little cooking oil spray or water before forming the patties. If the mixture is extremely soft or sticky and you're having trouble forming the patties, add more breadcrumbs till the patties are moldable (they should be soft and tacky but still moldable).
  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a sauté pan with high sides and a lid over medium heat. Fry patties in the oil, 6 - 7 at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Jewish Family RecipeCover the pan with a lid and cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side (8 minutes total). When finished cooking, remove and set aside. Continue till all the patties are cooked and browned, adding more olive oil to the pan if needed to prevent sticking.
  • To make sauce, add shredded carrot, minced onion, salt, pepper and paprika to the same pan you used to fry the patties. Add more oil if needed. Scrape any brown bits up from the bottom of the pan as you cook.
  • Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Jewish Family RecipeCook until onions are soft and translucent, then add stock. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the carrot shreds are very tender and the sauce is orange. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Polish Chicken Patties - Traditional Jewish Family RecipeAdd the fried patties to the sauce, cover and cook for 20 additional minutes. If adding peas, throw them into the sauce 5 minutes before the end of cooking till heated through. Serve patties warm in carrot sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
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Category: Entrees, Hanukkah, In the Kitchen, Meat, Passover, Passover - Ashkenazi, Passover - Sephardic, Recipes, Rosh Hashanah, Slide Show, Sukkot, Tomato Free

Comments (51)Post a Comment

  1. I LOVE Polish food!! My dad’s side of the family is Polish! My bubbe cooked like nobody’s business when it came to Polish food. Well, any food for that matter!! Yum!!

  2. Going to have haluski with that?

  3. I cannot wait to make this next week – thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes.

  4. I only like Polish food on days that end in “Y”;)!!!!

  5. Reli Silver says:

    Grew up on ktzitzot! Delish!!

  6. Paul McCool says:

    I like almost any kind of ethnic food, as long as they don’t involve blood, blubber or lutefisk…

  7. Rick Isaak says:

    As a kid, I lived in a town that had alot of Polish people. I’m not, but I love the food. Keilbasa and Periogies….yum!

  8. Stella Jones says:

    of course my grandparents came from Poland early in the 20th century

  9. I love ALL food…pretty much. And Polish seems to really hit the spot at this time of year!

  10. Yes, for some reason I do love it.<3

  11. I love just about any kind of food. Have realized that I am an adventurous eater and will try just about anything – except blood sausage/pudding!

  12. Yes! Haluski w noodles! Thats Cabbage and noodles! Has to be butter in it! Even better, substitute brussels sprouts instead of cabbage!

  13. Sounds delicious. Will be trying it soon.

  14. Deborah Schermerhorn says:

    Tori–What is the name of the Israeli spice blend that you used in the meatballs? There is a great Kosher Deli/market in Denver that most likely carries the item.

  15. Mike Janning says:

    Mine is Hungarian food from Marmor Province. But I love trying different things. The recipe sounds good.

  16. Dave Giaimo says:

    Cabbage and noodles…just delicious, total comfort food.

  17. Mary Younkin says:

    LOL I love ANY kind of food!! ;-)

  18. Loks great and something that I would try out!

  19. Lia Chesner says:

    I made these for my children and now for my grandchildren, the youngest being 1 year old, and they all loved it. I use my mom’s recipe and we’re from Romania/Hungary. My grandkids don’t like to see onion pieces so I substitute onion powder instead. and we don’t use a sauce. that way the kids can just walk around and eat when they don’t want to eat but Savta (me) thinks they should :)

  20. Shalom… T.. I love all kinds of Polish foods…

  21. My grandparents were Polish Jews. I never hear of this food, but I will give it a try!

  22. I will make these soon.

  23. I’m first-generation American with my parents coming from Poland. Have not heard of this, but would like to try it :)

  24. Kat Hasson says:

    This was the BEST!!!! Thank you for a decades keeper recipe!

  25. Nina says:

    I made them last night – they were great (and yes, I snuck one before they all went into the sauce)! I’m thinking of different spice combinations that could be used; instead of the “cookie spices” (which were delicious), maybe curry/garam masala or something like that?

  26. Irene Solnik says:

    my parents were from Sosnowiec Poland so i like Polish food. i will try these soon. Thanks for the recipe

  27. Leacarol Shinder says:

    My mom and her family were from Ostreleka, Poland and I look forward to making this dish!! I just returned from Poland, Hungary, & Czech Republic with a group from my Synagogue.
    It was most enlightening and hope that I am a better person because of the trip!! I was able to get info on my family from
    Jewish Geneology in Warsaw.
    Did you know that there is an Owl on the Crematorium in Treblinka? The owl is the only bird that flies in the dark and sees the light. Loved your owls @ the beginning.
    Leacarol

  28. Tammy says:

    In one picture where you were adding the carrots to start the sauce, it had no liquid. but in the next picture there was quite a bit of liquid. Did you add some liquid in making the sauce?
    Thank you.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Tammy, if you read the recipe instructions, it says:

      “Cook until onions are soft and translucent, then add stock.” It is stock you see in the picture, which is added after the carrots are cooked a bit and onions are soft.

  29. Suzanne says:

    My God-mother,in her seventies, whose family were Polish Jews, lives in France now. She is a beautiful woman who knows how to cook up a storm. I will make these in her honor, when she comes to visit us this winter in London.

  30. Gwen Slamovich says:

    These are very similar to my mother in law Bella’s recipe that she calls Klubsela. She too is a survivor of the camps, from Poland, and once owned and ran Fox’s Deli in San Francisco. I have had to watch her cook and write down approximate recipes, as she knows them by heart without any measurements. I am looking forward to trying this and comparing the two! Many thanks!

  31. Tracy says:

    Hi Tori, I love Polish cooking. I’m looking forward to trying out this recipe. My favorite Polish recipe is for potato pancake, the Polish ones are soft and the size of a crepe. I would be over the
    Moon if anyone has a recipe for this and would not mind sharing it.

  32. Hector Lahera says:

    You don’t have to be Polish or Jewish to like this; it reads great and I can tell it is. It is also, just the type of food for a party. It’s easy to make, the ingredients are all tasty but none is expensive; and above all, it’s the kind of food that

    can wait for the guests to sit at the table to at their own (over-polite) pace: unlike, say, pasta dishes, that “sets” and (infuriatingly to the cook) are never as good later as immediately when first served.

    I just returned from Spain where in a country kitchen, I’d swear, I was served the sauce of this recipe as the most wonderful soup as part of an improvised late night supper.

    Thanks for all the excellent recipes.

  33. robyn says:

    I just made this recipe. Been wanting to do it a while already but didn’t have time. It is amazing. We absolutely loved it and couldn’t believe it was that good after just being made.

    Thank you so much for sharing and please thank you friends for a wonderful family recipe. I will be making this often now.

  34. Lynne Zielinski says:

    Can these chicken patties be frozen?

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