I had my friend Neil over last night for a New Year’s Eve soirée and I rather over-catered, with a variety of snacks – mini-Cornish pasties, mini-quiches, mini-Scotch eggs, and these little beauties. They’re from a cookbook called The Little Tapas Book and are very similar to something that Lourdes usually brings along to our Eurovision parties so I knew that they’d be tasty. They’re easy to do, albeit a bit sticky, and you can vary the ingredients – the recipe includes mushrooms but I decided to substitute chopped red pepper instead as I can’t stand mushrooms.
The recipe makes about 20 (depending upon how big you make them) but I halved it to just make 10.
90g of butter
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
115g of red pepper, de-seeded and cut into small dice
125g of plain flour
250ml of milk
185ml of chicken stock
115g of serrano ham or prosciutto, finely chopped
60g of plain flour for dusting
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50g of breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or so, until translucent.
Add the pepper and cook, still over a low heat, for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
Add the larger amount of flour and stir over a medium heat for 1 minute, until the mixture is dry and crumbly and starts to change its colour. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk, stirring until smooth. Stir in the stock and then return to the heat.
Stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the ham and season with black pepper, then transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours, until cool.
After the mixture is cool roll heaped tablespoons of the mixture into croquette shapes about 2 inches long.
Put the extra flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Toss the croquettes first in the flour, then dip in egg and finally coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (I didn’t bother with this bit and it didn’t seem to make much difference.)
Fill a deep saucepan with vegetable oil until one-third full, and heat to 170. Add the croquettes, in batches, and deep fry for 3 minutes each, turning regularly, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
Delicious, hot or cold.