I love Croquetas, or croquettes – if you prefer. They do have that unbeatable mouthfeel thing don’t they? Crispy and crunchy on the outside, hot and creamy inside – an essential addition to your tapas. I have not yet found a shop-bought version that gives you same hit so when I spotted this recipe by José Pizarro in the BBC Good Food magazine. I thought, why not?
I can tell you why not…..because they are right fiddle. Delicious, but a time-consuming, right fiddle.
75g Plain Flour, 2 large eggs (beaten), 75g breadcrumbs (I used Panko breadcrumbs)
For the filling – 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 small leek very finely diced, 70g Iberico ham (or similar, I used Serrano), 60g plain flour, 75ml ham or veg stock (I used new Oxo Ham stock – fab), 325ml full fat milk, freshly grated nutmeg to taste (I kept it light)
For the filling, heat the olive oil in a pan until fairly warm, add the leek and sauté until soft, but not browned. Stir in the ham, fry for 1 minute, and then stir in the flour and fry over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is golden, be very careful not to burn, burnt flour can not be undone.
Meanwhile, combine the milk and stock and heat until steaming but do not boil. Season with a bit of nutmeg and then gradually add to the ham and flour mixture. Once all the milk/stock is incorporated, cook over a medium heat until it thickens and leaves the sides of the pan as you stir. It needs to be very thick, more like a dough than a sauce, to ensure your croquetas don’t collapse. Season with black pepper and salt if necessary . Smooth the mixture onto a baking tray and allow to cool a little then cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
When cooled, line up 3 bowls, 1 with flour, then the beaten egg and then breadcrumbs. Roll the cooled mixture into balls about the size of a walnut (oil your hands it makes it easier).
Dip the balls in the flour, egg and then breadcrumbs then put them on a tray and cool again in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Finally deep fry for a couple of minutes at about 180C
I served them with a side salad with Manchego cheese.
Don’t get me wrong this is a lovely recipe (the croquetas) but honestly, with all the cooling and dipping and rolling and cooling, the whole thing took best part of 3 hours. Life is too short, so I am on the look out for some ready-made ones that can compete.