Friday, November 25, 2011

Chicken (or Turkey!) Croquettes

Happy Black Friday, everyone! I trust you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving... we sure did! I had to work at the hospital last night, but fortunately I was able to sacrifice a little sleep to spend a few hours with my family over wonderful food and even better conversation.

We have so much to be thankful for this year, too. 2011 has been a huge year on so many levels... graduation with my AS in Respiratory Care in May, a full-time job for me, our amazing wedding and honeymoon in August, graduation with my BS in Respiratory Care coming up in a few weeks... and now a house! Dane and I will be closing on our first home next week and moving next weekend! We are ridiculously excited, as you can imagine, and immensely grateful for the opportunity to own our own home. Especially in today's economy, we are fully aware of what a great blessing this is, and we feel so lucky and very thankful. This has been a very blessed Thanksgiving indeed!

But enough mushy stuff. Who wants food?

I made these chicken croquettes a couple of weeks ago from some leftover roasted chicken, and the whole time I kept thinking, "These would be perfect black Friday food!" These irresistible little croquettes make perfect use of those Thanksgiving leftovers, and are way tastier than any day-after turkey sandwich I've ever eaten. They look - and taste! - like they take hours to prepare, but are really, really easy to throw together. And if you tend to hoard hard Italian cheeses like I do, you'll probably even have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now! And if not, well... they're totally worth the trip to the store to pick up a little Romano.

So here it is, guys... the answer to your day-after-Thanksgiving, what-do-I-do-with-all-these-leftovers-questions. Totally pop-able, completely irresistible, amazingly easy croquettes. Do it.

Or, if you prefer the more traditional leftovers answer, try my mom's turkey and homemade egg noodles!

Happy eating!

Chicken (or Turkey!) Croquettes
from Big Bowl of Love
yields 10-12 croquettes

3 eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
2 cups diced roasted chicken or turkey
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup feta cheese or goat cheese
1/2 cup flour
3 cups plain bread crumbs
1 cup canola oil
2 lemons, cut into wedges

1. Combine 1 egg with the Parmesan and Romano cheeses and beat well.
2. In a food processor, combine the roasted chicken or turkey, egg-cheese mixture, parsley, mashed potatoes, and salt. Process until smooth and all ingredients appear to be evenly distributed.
3. Using about 1/4 cup of the chicken (or turkey) mixture, create a cylinder that will fit in the palm of your hand. Gently pull the cylinder open to form two halves and press a small dent into each half with your thumb. Place a piece of feta or goat cheese about the size of a small grape into one of the dents and cover with the other half. Shape back into a cylinder, making sure the cheese is surrounded by chicken (turkey) so that it does not ooze out during cooking. Continue with the rest of the poultry mixture.
4. Place the croquettes on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (They can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 days before frying, if desired.)
5. When you're ready to cook the croquettes, beat the remaining 2 eggs and place in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. Place the flour and breadcrumbs each into their own shallow dishes, and line up the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs into a small assembly line. Roll a croquette first in the flour, then in the eggs, and then into the breadcrumbs, ensuring that the whole croquette is covered. Place on a baking rack while you coat the rest of the croquettes. When all of them are ready to fry, place he canola oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Check the temperature by dropping a small piece of breading in the oil - if it immediately begins to bubble and sizzle, the oil is hot enough. Lower the heat to medium, and fry the croquettes until they are golden brown on all sides, turning as necessary. Drain the croquettes on a paper towel-lined plate.
6. Croquettes can be served right out of the frying pan, while still sizzling hot, but are also good at room temperature or even cold out of the refrigerator. Serve with lemon wedges as desired.

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