Friday, November 4, 2011

Croquetas & Mojitos

YUM!
Tonight we went to have dinner with dear friends we don't get to see enough.  We brought a take out pizza but it was not my meal.  I ate there AMAZING croquettas.  Growing up in Miami, I have had my fare share of them, but these were by far the best.  I gorged myself on these tasty tubes until I felt "Thanksgiving" full.  Along with the croquettas, we had their signature mojitos! (in an earlier post)  I am looking forward to trying to make them.  (I'm also nervous I won't be able to get them as good as they did!)  YUM!

Croquetas – Ham Croquettes24 Servings

 4 T  butter
1/2 c  onion,minced fine
1/3 c  flour
1    and 1/2 cups whole milk,at room temperature (more or less)
1/4 t  nutmeg
1 T  dry sherry
1 T  parsley,finely chopped
4 c  (about 1 pound) smoked ham ground
1 c  dry bread crumbs (more or less)
1/2 t  salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 t  black pepper (more or less to taste)
           Coating
2    eggs,beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 c  dry bread crumbs (mixed with 1/4 cup flour)
1 t  salt
1/2 t  black pepper
1 c  vegetable oil (for frying
Croquetas are very popular at restaurants, walk-up counters and
bakeries all over Miami.
In a large pan, melt the butter, add the onions, and sauté until
translucent.
Stir in 1/3 cup flour to make a roux - add more butter if necessary to
make a smooth roux. Gradually whisk in the milk to form a smooth sauce.
Continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Your sauce needs to be very
thick - like wallpaper paste! Whisk in nutmeg, sherry, and parsley.
Fold in the ground ham and one cup bread crumbs.
Let simmer for five minutes on low heat. Taste and season with salt and
pepper if necessary - the ham probably has enough salt already. Spoon
the mixture into a baking pan and refrigerate until well chilled - at
least one hour. NOTE: The mixture needs to be firm enough to form into
rolls. If your mixture is too soft or sticky, add some additional bread
crumbs.
Shape the ham mixture into logs about 3/4-inch thick and three inches
long.
Make an egg wash by beating the eggs with water until frothy in a small
bowl.
Combine the bread crumbs and flour in a second bowl; add salt and
pepper.
Dip the logs in the egg wash and roll the logs in the seasoned bread
crumbs. Dip a second time and re-roll in bread crumbs.
IMPORTANT: Cover logs with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two to
three hours. (You may also freeze for later use, or use the freezer to
quickly chill them.)
Sauté the croquetas in hot oil - about 350º F, a few at a time, three
to four minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from
oil and drain on paper towels. You may also cook them in a deep fat
fryer.

Variation: Chicken
You can easily substitute an equal amount of COOKED chicken for the ham
- white or dark meat, or a combination. Grind the cooked chicken in a
food processor. Add a dash of fresh lime juice to the ground chicken.
We also grind in a handful of chopped cilantro for a nice flavor twist.
(Omit the parsley if you do so.) However, this is an option.
Serving suggestion
A popular way to serve croquetas is with a thin slice of cheese, a thin
slice of ham, and crackers.

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