Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ham & Cheese Croquettes

Article first published as Ham & Cheese Croquettes on Blogcritics.

Not too long ago, friends came over for a Spanish themed dinner I prepared. When creating dinner menus, especially for guests, I like thinking about restaurant menus and what I'd order. For Spanish tapas, a must-order dish are croquettes. The most popular ones I've seen at restaurants are like these Ham & Cheese Croquettes. I came across a recipe and it worked like a charm. These crunchy coated pillows were filled with a creamy ham and cheese middle. The contrast in texture definitely makes it more enticing....

These croquettes were easy to make and make in advance at that! I prepared the 'dough', rolled them into bite sized pieces, breaded them and chilled until I was ready to fry. I found by allow the breaded croquettes to chill helped the coating adhere and not fall apart as it cooked. These croquettes can also act as a great base recipe. You can sub the ham with cooked and shredded chicken breast and use a different cheese. I'm thinking I'll try a chicken & pepper jack croquette sometime soon....

Ham & Cheese Croquettes
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup onion, minced
3 medium green chives, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (16 ounce) package sliced honey ham, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded extra Cheddar cheese
3 cups dried breadcrumbs, divided
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
2 cups oil for frying
1/8 cup water

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, chives, and garlic; cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer contents of skillet to a large bowl. Stir in ham, Cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs.

Beat 3 eggs; stir into ham mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using your hands, make golf ball-size balls out of the ham mixture.

Spread remaining bread crumbs onto a plate. In a large bowl, beat 1 egg; stir in water. Dip balls into egg mixture, and roll in bread crumbs. Place on a platter in a single layer, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place croquettes in hot oil being careful not to crowd, frying in batches. Fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to soak up grease.