So what do you do when you make a bit too much mash (as in mashed potatoes)? Make croquettes… of course!
This is a quick and simple croquette “recipe” that anyone can follow and makes a great snack, starter or even better – a main. And croquettes are so easy to make, especially because you can use whatever leftovers you have to make tasty, crumbly goodness.
What’s a perfect croquette? Well for me, the perfect croquette is all about getting the ratios right – the ratio of protein, to cheese, to green, to mash. I rarely follow a specific recipe when mixing up a batch because its usually only when I have leftover mash that I make them. So this blog post isn’t really a ‘hard and fast’ recipe for croquettes, it’s more like providing general direction and guidance on how to go about pulling the right ingredients together to make a tasty little packet of crumbed goodness.
Now I know I said I don’t follow a “recipe”, but I do follow a standard ratio for our croquettes …
2 – 1 – 1/2 – 1/4
2 Parts Mash – 1 Part Protein – 1/2 Part Cheese – 1/4 Part Vegetable (generally something green)
Of course, the more ingredients you use in a particular group means you have to adjust accordingly so it ‘adds up’ to the base ratio. For us, we find 4 ingredients gives us a perfectly balanced croquette.
Our favourite croquette is made with chorizo and cheese which includes –
- Mashed Potatoes made with Maris Pipers
- Spanish Chorizo (we usually get ours @ Tesco)
- Manchego Cheese (we usually get ours @ Tesco)
- Baby Spinach
Prepping the components –
There are different ways in which folks prep their mash for croquettes. Me, I just use leftover mash – also known as ‘wet’ mash. ‘Wet’ mash, is mash that contains butter and milk. Although most croquette traditionalist will say use ‘dry’ mash – mash that doesn’t contain milk and butter. But for us, ‘wet’ mash works perfectly and solves the whole ‘season to taste’ problem that can arise during the whole prepping and preparing of the croquettes. So my recommendation would be to use ‘wet’ mash – as it should already be seasoned to your taste. If you are looking for a preferred recipe, we started with Delia’s and adapted to our taste.
We generally end up using half a packet of chorizo to 2 – 2 1/2 cups of mash. The chorizo is cut into discs and then diced. The chorizo should be cut into really small pieces – the size of your chorizo pieces inside your croquette makes a huge difference to the texture of the croquette. So think ‘tiny bite-size’ ration. For the chorizo itself, we tend to use ‘raw’ chorizo, meaning we don’t cook it, we use it cured ‘as-is’ and add it directly to our croquette mixture. However, if your preference is for a more ‘caramelised’ taste to your chorizo then you should cook the chorizo before hand. Just remember to dry it out and remove as much of the oil as you can, which tends to build up during the cooking process.
Not really much to say about preparing the cheese – basically do a small grate. You want the cheese to blend in nicely, but not completely melt away during the cooking process. One thing I would suggest – the cheese should complement the protein being used. For example, we are using chorizo so the cheese that would best complement it would be manchego. If we were using ham or bacon, we’d chose cheddar or a Red Leister type cheese.
Be careful with the amount of vegetables or ‘greenery’ used, because veg tends to add moisture to the mixture, so you don’t want too much. Also, make sure you Julienne and then dice the vegetables – you want small pieces for the croquettes (to coincide with all the other components).
Mixing the components
Select a good size bowl for mixing. Begin by combining the cheese and chorizo. The reason I start this way, is I can gauge and monitor the ratios better. You want a balance of chorizo to cheese. I then add the vegetables, followed by the mash. By doing it in stages, you can make sure your mixture isn’t off balance. When all the components have been mixed together, your mixture should resemble this:
As you can see, there’s a good balance of all ingredients. Remember not to over mix the ingredients – you don’t want ‘pasty’ or ‘glue-like’ croquettes. Once the mix is ready, form the croquettes and prepare your crumb assembly line – seasoned flour (flour, salt, pepper and maybe an accent spice), 1 or 2 beaten eggs and Panko breadcrumbs.
You’ll find that you’ll get the crunchiest croquettes with a double crumb.
Once properly crumbed, the rest is fairly easy. Prepare a saucepan with oil, regular cooking oil will work. If you want to splash out and use olive oil you can, but honestly, cooking oil has always done the trick for us. Make sure you don’t get your pan too hot – smoking is too hot. We generally do a low-med flame, this allows the crumb to slowly brown without burning.
You want to carefully place the croquette into the sauce pan, not only to save yourself from the splash, but to also save on the amount of crumb being lost. Whilst the croquette is cooking, make sure to gently roll the croquette in the oil. To evenly brown the crumb. Once golden brown, take out and place on a paper towel to soak up the extra oil and allow for cooling down.
In general, croquettes can be eaten hot, warm or cold – really just depends on your taste and the ingredients used. We tend to prefer ours hot to warm… we like the ‘gooiness’ of the cheese, and we generally serve them with a nice mixed salad – as a main course.
As a side note, croquettes are perfect for freezing. Just take them up to the crumb stage and then place them in a shallow baking pan. Make sure to give them room, don’t stack them or place them too tightly together. Lightly cover them with cling film and place in the freezer. Once they are frozen, you can portion them out into freezer bags for later use.
When reheating from frozen, make sure to thaw them out to room temperature before placing them in oil. You want to make sure you don’t end up with a golden crumb on the outside and an ice cube in the center!
Please enjoy and Buen Apetito!