by Chef David Nayfeld
Makes 8-10 Draniki
Draniki is a Belarusian-style potato pancake stuffed with chicken. This recipe was developed by Chef David Nayfeld, originally for The Inherited Plate recipe blog.
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (4 to 5 large potatoes), peeled
1/2 small yellow onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 pound ground chicken
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
5 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed
Sunflower oil, as needed
Sour cream (preferably Russian)
Applesauce or preserves
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
If you have a meat grinder, cut the potatoes and onion into chunks and place through the smallest holes of a meat grinder. (Otherwise, finely chop the onion, and grate or shred the potatoes with a box grater or the julienne blade of a food processor. Combine the two in the food processor fitted with the regular blade and pulse until they are finely ground with some small bits—it should not be pureed into a pulp.)
Season the potato mixture well with 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add 4 lightly beaten eggs and 1/2 cup of flour and mix gently until homogenized. If the mixture appears very liquid, or if there is water pooling at the top, mix in more flour, a tablespoon at a time, to get a lumpy, thick batter. As the mixture sits, the salt may extract more liquid from the potatoes so add more flour as needed to keep that thick, lumpy texture.
Combine the chicken, garlic, parsley and the remaining egg in a bowl. Season with 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and mix well. Cook a small bite of the mixture (microwave is fine) to taste it for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as needed.
In a large skillet, add enough oil to generously cover the bottom for a shallow fry (about 1/4 inch of oil). Heat over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering-hot.
Working in batches, scoop out 1/3 cup portions of the potato mixture into the oil, and press them lightly to form into 1/2-inch-thick disks, gently bringing any run-away bits of potato back to the pancakes with your spoon or spatula.
Make a divot or nest in the center each pancake, making sure not to break through the batter. Add a generous tablespoon of the chicken mixture to the divot and press down gently with the back of your spoon. Add some additional potato batter over the chicken just to coat, about 2 tablespoons.
When the pancakes are fluffy and dark golden brown, after about 4 minutes, gently flip them over. (If they are getting color much faster than that, turn down the heat slightly.) The flip is easiest if you lift the pan to pool the oil away from you, then flip the pancake on the dry side of the pan. Release the pan to let the oil come back and surround the pancake. Cook until the underside is golden, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the pancakes to a sheet pan and repeat with the remaining potato batter and chicken to make 8 to 10 draniki. When all of the draniki have been fried and transferred to the pan, bake in the oven until fully cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Blot the baked pancakes with paper towel to remove any grease and serve with apple sauce, sour cream and chives