I absolutely love croquettes. When I see them on a restaurant menu I simply must order them. Yet it occurred to me recently that I’ve never made them! This recipe gave me a great excuse to play with my new deep fryer again.
When I put this recipe together, I was focused on creating a perfect balance of flavor in each bite. This took quite a bit of experimentation and several test rounds. I wanted them to be extremely flavorful, with bits of sweetness, spice and crunch. The balance of chorizo, Manchego, pine nuts, and slightly caramelized onions achieved my goal. The chorizo is spicy and meaty, and the toasted pine nuts add just the right amount of crunch. The cheese is gooey and adds a bit of extra savoriness, or umami. The onions add just enough sweetness (if you caramelize them too much they add bitterness). Every bite really is perfect.
You don’t need a deep fryer to make these. You can heat a neutral flavored, high smoke point oil (vegetable, canola, peanut, etc) in a large sauce pot or dutch oven. I recommend using a thermometer to make sure you’re around 360 degrees. If the oil is too hot, the outside will brown before the inside is properly cooked. If the temperature isn’t hot enough the croquettes might absorb oil and become greasy. You can try baking them but I can’t promise you’ll have the same results. The outside won’t be as crunchy.
Lastly, you can substitute regular milk or cream for the evaporated milk. I like using it because it has a subtle tang, almost like yogurt. It adds another dimension of flavor.
- 1 large Idaho Russet Potato
- 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large chorizo link
- 1/3 cup yellow onions, small dice
- 1 small or 1/2 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup Manchego cheese, small dice
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Boil the potato in salted hot water until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes. Allow them to cool and then mash them or use a potato ricer to create a smooth puree. You should have approximately 1 cup of mashed potatoes.
- Add the evaporated milk, egg yolk, flour and salt to the potato. Combine well and set aside.
- Remove casing from the chorizo. In a medium saute pan, render the fat from the sausage on low heat. After a few minutes turn the heat up to medium and brown the sausage while breaking it apart with a spatula. Allow the bottom of the pan to brown and then deglaze it periodically with 1-2 tablespoons of water. When the pan sizzles, use the spatula to scrape up the brown bits and incorporate them with the chorizo; the water will cook away. Continue to break apart the chorizo so you have very small pieces. Once the sausage bits are brown and crunchy (15-20 minutes), remove from the pan and allow excess fat to drain on a paper towel. Measure out 1/2 cup of chorizo and set aside.
- In the same saute pan, sweat the onions and garlic on medium-low heat. If there's no leftover fat from the chorizo, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan to prevent sticking. Saute for a few minutes and then turn off the heat when the onions and garlic are just starting to brown. Set aside.
- Toast the pine nuts in a 350 degree F oven until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.
- Heat up the vegetable oil to 360 degrees F in a deep fryer or medium sauce pot.
- Place breadcrumbs in a bowl.
- Combine the potato mixture, chorizo, pine nuts and Manchego cheese. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the mixture and use your hands to form a ball. Roll it around in the breadcrumbs and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
- Fry the croquettes until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.
- Carefully remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow the excess oil to drain on paper towels for a minute or two.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Disclaimer: This post is part of a contest sponsored by the Idaho® Potato Commission to celebrate February being Potato Lover’s Month.