Fig was over for our usual bout of Whoery on Tuesday (although, in the end, we went for some 1970s Whodunnit with Jon Pertwee, including one episode featuring Nick ‘The Brigadier’ Courtney as the murder victim.) Alberto was around as well so I decided to do a Japanese meal for the three of us. I chose brasied Chinese beef for the main course and opted for miso soup and these lovely pumpkin croquets as a starter.
They’re very tasty but really, really messy to make. The kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it once I’d finished! Still, they were nice though!
I made six, medium-sized croquets out of third of a butternut squash. I should have used a kabocha pumpkin, but you don’t get ’em in Sainsbury’s so butternut it was!
⅓ of a butternut squash or a kabocha pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks
500ml of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of butter
½ a brown onion, minced (or, at least, very finely chopped)
1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper
1 plate of flour
1 egg, beaten
1 plate of panko breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
Pop the chunks of pumpkin and the chicken sock in a saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes or so until the pumpkin is soft.
In a small frying pan, melt the butter and cook the onion over a medium heat, until translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, drain well and then place in a bowl and,using a potato masher, mash until mostly smooth. (A few little chunks will give the korokke a more interesting texture.
Add the onion, soy sauce, mayonnaise and season well with salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cool a bit before shaping.
Dampen your hands with water and then take a golf-ball sized amount of mixture and shape into a flat croquet, about 1cm thick.
Spread out the flour on a plate, the beaten egg on another and the breadcrumbs on the third.
Dip each croquet in the flour, tap off the excess, then coat in the egg and finally in the panko breadcrumbs. This is very messy as the mixture is solid but sloppy and will shed bits into the flour and breadcrumbs, as well as sticking to your fingers. The panko breadcrumbs are also tricky to work with and you don’t get as complete-a coverage as you do with fine breadcrumbs.
Heat about 1cm of vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, slip the croquets into the oil and fry until golden and crispy. Depending upon how many you’ve made you may need to cook them in batches.
Whilst these are extremely messy to make they are delicious – crispy and slightly oily on the outside and creamy and sweet on the inside. Tasty tasty!