These are some seriously savory Kotlety (Russian/Ukrainian meat patties) that are like bun-less burgers or large meatballs. This recipe makes about 16 Kotlety so feel free to double if you need them for a larger crowd. They will freeze well also for a future meal.
Place bread in small bowl and pour milk or water on top and let bread soak for 2-3 minutes. After time is up, mash up bread and milk with fingers until it's all wet and smashed up into a thick paste.
Mix garlic, paprika, salt and pepper together in a small ramekin.
Add bread mixture, grated onion, eggs and spices large mixing bowl with meat.
Mix meat mixture well (fingers work best) until fully combined.
Preheat your cooking device: cast iron skillet or griddle to Medium/ Medium low and once warm add enough oil just to coat bottom. (If using panini press preheat it now) I do like to use a cast iron skillet sometimes to make these as well, but you need to watch the heat on the cast iron more closely to not burn the kotlety.
Form patties with meat mixture, I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and make them about 1" thick (round or oval, your preference)
Gas Griddle Cooking
Heat up your Gas Griddle for 10-15 minutes to Medium Low. (I use a Blackstone 36" griddle)
Once your griddle is heated up, drizzle some cooking oil on the surface and spread it around (I use Avocado Oil usually for the griddle) and toss the kotlety one by one onto the griddle. You should be able to fit all of your kotlety on the griddle at one time. I try to put the patties in clusters on the griddle so that I can get my griddle dome over a group of them at a time.
Cook the kotlety 4-5 mins on the first side **Watch patties closely because everyone's griddle cooks differently and it's easy to burn these if not watching closely. The paprika in the kotlety can cause them to darken quickly.**
Use a griddle dome to help cook the kotlety all the way through. My griddle dome is smaller so it won't fit them all under it at one time, I bounce it around for a couple minutes at a time over smaller groups of the kotlety patties.
Flip patties over and cook about 5 to 8 more minutes or until both sides browned and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. I usually don't use the griddle dome after the flip unless the kotlety patties are slow coming up to temp.
Place patties on greased skillet and cook on Medium to Medium Low, about 4 minutes or browned browned (Cover with lid while cooking) but do not walk away! **Watch patties closely because everyone's burner and skillets cook differently and it's easy to burn these if not watching closely.**
Flip patty and cook about 4 more minutes and browned.
Check internal temperature of fattest patty with a meat thermometer (165 deg. minimum) You can keep cooked Kotlety in a 170 degree oven while cooking the rest.
Panini Press Cooking
Place 3-4 1/4 cup pressed balls of meat mixture on press and adjust panini press to level above "toast" (stays open with upper and lower plates 1 " apart) if you have level adjusts. **If you do not have adjustments on your press, the patties will just turn into flat burgers and then I don't recommend making them this way.**
They cook thoroughly with a nice even brown in 4-5 minutes, no flipping of course.
Check internal temperature of fattest patty with a meat thermometer (165 deg. minimum)