Well I can honestly say it’s nice to be back and typing about something I enjoy for a change; God knows it’s been a few weeks now.
Despite the sagging in-tray, I had to write about this one although I have a feeling I’m a little late to the party with this rather classic tapas. I would go on about it but feel I’d be coming across like someone who’s just starting watching Breaking Bad – ranting on about how good it was to all and sundry even though the entire Western world has watched it already. Actually….that was me. I don’t watch too many shows.
However, this recipe was given to me by Helen’s new colleague Elena who I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of weeks back and who hails from beautiful Valencia. Of course, I made it as soon as I could. I’m ashamed to say, after all this time I had no idea proper croquetas were made with a thick béchamel type filling. I always assumed quite wrongly, that it was mashed potato. I’m sorry Elena!
These did of course taste delicious. The original recipe given to me was for chicken, but she said I was free to add whatever I wanted, so I tried a little thyme and some ham as well. I would have instinctively added butter to make the béchamel, but it certainly doesn’t need it – the filing is wonderfully rich as it is….
CROQUETAS DE POLLO
- 500 gr boneless chicken (I added a couple of handfuls of ham and 1 tbsp thyme too!)
- 3 glasses of milk (glass=200 ml).
- 6 tablespoonful of flour
- 1 medium onion
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Sunflower oil
- 2 or 3 Eggs
Cook the chicken and dice it in small bits (1 cm approx). I usually boil the chicken, instead of frying it.
Dice the onion in small bits and add it to the heated pan with the sunflower oil. It´s important that the oil covers the base of the pan (4 or 5 ml deep).
Fry the onion over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes and before it is golden, add the flour. Stir the mixture and let it toast. The mixture needs to have a soft brown colour. Keep stirring and when you see it´s toasted, add the 3 glasses of warm milk and you can increase the heat to medium. Keep stirring to avoid too many lumps.
Now add the chicken and add the salt without keeping stirring. You´ll see how it thickens. Before removing from the hob, taste and rectify the salt if necessary.
Now, dump the mixture out into a big dish and let it cool. I usually prepare this the night before so I let it stand in the fridge overnight.
The following day, take it out from the fridge and shape the dough into small balls (I made oblongs, I don’t know why – Phil) . I usually get 20 croquetas for the amount of ingredients used above.
Whisk two eggs in deep dish or a bowl. And pour the breadcrumbs in another dish or bowl. Now, you need to cover the balls first with the eggs and then with the breadcrumbs. If you feel you have got a lot of “croquetas” and you don´t think you you´ll use them all, you can freeze some of them.
Now, you need to prepare a pan with plenty of oil and fry them in over medium heat until they are golden. They should be ready now. BUEN PROVECHO!
NB: Instead of chicken, you can add any ingredient that you fancy. I´ve done them with bacon and mushrooms, just with mushrooms, spinach and small prawns.