How Do You Feel About Croquettes?
Dr. Freud's Couch
Croquettes creeped into my life slowly. Once, when I was whiling away my 45 minutes of psychoanalysis I asked out loud what I could prepare for dinner with leftover roast chicken. “Croquettes!” was the enthusiastic response from my analyst. This from the person who was so professionally restrained that nearly every question I asked in 10 years went unanswered. Croquettes? What in the world was she talking about?
Years went by and that cryptic and isolated response perplexed me. What are croquettes and why, of all the things she could possibly tell me, did she recommend them?
Then I picked My Girl up from a late afternoon play date (which marvelously included dinner). I could see some of the leftovers on the kitchen table, and the kind dad (who also happens to be a wonderful cook) offered me some. They were little potato pancakes full of chicken and peas. “What are these?” I asked with a mouth full of the light and savory morsel.
They are indeed an excellent way to make use of leftover chicken, leftover mashed potatoes, and leftover peas. But I was so in the mood for them the other night that I made fresh mashed potatoes and fresh corn to accompany the leftover chicken and to appease my hunger.
They are most definitely comfort food, and perhaps that comfort was what the wise doctor was trying to relay.
Here’s how I made them:
Mashed potatoes—this is the main ingredient, and the amount you have will determine how many croquettes you will have. Remember, butter makes them better.
Roast Chicken – take the meat off the bone and chop into bite-sized pieces
Some sautéed onion, shallot and/or garlic will add more flavor. You won’t need a lot
Some vegetables – corn, peas. I used one ear of corn for about 10 croquettes
Egg—(beaten) Think of this as meatloaf, you want enough to bind everything together and add some lightness when it cooks, but don’t make it too wet.
Salt / Pepper
Bread Crumbs or Panko
Mix the potatoes, chicken, onion, veggies, egg, and salt and pepper. Form them into balls and flatten them out into cakes (about the size of a hamburger patty). It’s not a bad idea to let them chill in the fridge if you have the time. I think this helps them set.
Lightly bread each side of each croquette with breadcrumbs
Heat a griddle and add some oil (don’t let it smoke), and cook the croquettes, letting them crisp up on each side. Let each one drain on some paper towels after you cook them, then keep them warm a low oven until they are all done.
Image: From Freud.uk.org