Friday, 2 March 2012

Baked Chicken Croquettes

Chicken croquettes are such an old fashioned dish. I don't know why I had such a hankering for them recently, but I did. It's not like anyone in my family ever made them, but the idea of chicken encased in a creamy sauce and then cooked until crisp on the outside is very appealing and was calling my name there for a while. I guess they haven't really disappeared from modern eating either; they've just been displaced by the chicken "nugget". No comparison though. None at all.

It's really best to use leftover cooked chicken for these. It's an awful lot of work to cook it just so you can make them. But if you do have some, these are a food plan. 

8 - 12 croquettes; 4 to 6 servings
30 minutes cooking time in advance, not including cooking the chicken
1 hour to finish; 20 minutes prep time, not including the chilling


2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup bread crumbs
2 large shallots
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soft unbleached flour

1 recipe poultry seasoning
1 cup whole milk or light cream
1 extra-large egg

2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil or melted butter
1 cup bread crumbs
2 extra-large eggs

Chop the chicken with the bread crumbs. It's best to put them through a food processor, but do retain some texture.

Peel and mince the shallots. Put them in a large pot with the butter and salt, and cook gently until soft and slightly browned. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes more, stirring frequently, until well amalgamated and even a little browned. Mix in the poultry seasoning. Stir in the milk or cream, a little at a time, to make a smooth paste, working out any lumps before adding more. Once it is all in, continue cooking, stirring frequently, until thickened. Mix the chicken and bread crumbs into the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until cold and fairly firm in texture.

To make the croquettes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a large lasagne pan with some of the oil or melted butter. Pu the bread crumbs in a shallow dish, and the eggs, beaten, in another. Divide the mixture into the number of croquettes desired. Roll each one in the crumbs, then the eggs, then the crumbs again. Do not attempt to flatten them into a patty shape until they are placed in the baking dish, at which point they should be gently pressed to be about 1" thick. This is because the mixture remains fairly soft even when chilled, and is easier to work with as a ball.

When all the patties are thus formed, brush them with the remaining oil or butter. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes,  until firm and golden-brown.

Last year at this time I made Smoked Trout & Sweet Potato Cakes.

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