On our recent trip to Spain, croquettes were served in just about every restaurant we went to. My 7-year-old daughter fell in love with them, and they became the “chicken nugget” of our trip: the go-to kid food we knew we’d always find on the kids menu.
Once we got home to the States, I started looking for them and only found them on-line, not in stores. And since they’re shipped frozen, it required a large purchase: a major hassle to buy them.
Luckily, I found a great recipe in Saveur magazine, and decided to try it out. I was a bit clumsy at making them at first–they do need a bit of finesse–but by the end of the batch, I got the hang of it.
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
6 oz cheddar cheese, grated
6 oz ham, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
avocado oil (or vegetable oil–for frying)
Peel the potatoes, cut them into 1″ cubes and boil them in salted water until tender. Drain and set them aside.
Melt the butter in the same pot the potatoes were in, then add the onions and saute until translucent. Put the potatoes back in the pot and add 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth. Add more cream, if needed.
Add the cheese and mix until it has melted in. Add the ham and mix again. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the contents of the pot into a metal bowl and place in the freezer to cool, stirring every 10 minutes until the mashed potato mix is cold, but not frozen.
Line up three bowls: flour in the first bowl, eggs (scrambled) in the second bowl, Panko in the third.
Remove the mashed potato mix from the freezer, and with floured hands, grab enough to gently roll a small meatball in your hands. (I’ve found that starting with a round shape makes it easier to work with.)
Roll the ball in the flour, then the egg, then drop in the Panko and roll again. With the ball in your hand, gently squeeze into a tubular shape, and then place it on a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Continue with the rest of the potato mixture. (You may need to add another egg or two if you run out.)
Once you’ve rolled all the croquettes, place them back in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up. (I use a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil.)
Heat a pan with 2″ of oil to 350 degrees. Remove the croquettes from the freezer, and working in small batches, fry them until golden brown. Place on paper towels, and quickly season lightly with salt while hot, if desired.
The croquettes freeze really well, so this batch goes a long way. Once they’ve been fried, let them cool completely to room temp. Place them in Ziploc freezer bags and store in the freezer. When it’s time to cook them, let them thaw for about 15 minutes, then place in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for another 15 minutes.