Make great use of leftover chicken, turkey, salmon
I love food that goes together quickly but tastes like it took hours.
Chicken Croquettes definitely fit this bill. Bonus: It also is a great vehicle for leftover chicken, turkey or salmon.
The first time I had croquettes — and they’re still the best I’ve ever eaten — was at a church dinner. I have absolutely no hope of ever being able to replicate those delicious morsels, perfectly golden and crisp on the outside, velvety yet substantiative on the inside, but these are good enough that more than one Colvin burned fingers trying to eat them straight out of the frying pan.
Start with a few leftover chicken thighs and a prechopped version of Louisiana’s trinity of onion, celery and bell pepper.
Don’t skip the sautéeing; it adds volumes to the flavor and improves the texture of your croquettes.
You don’t have to food process the chicken and vegetables, but I find it helps the texture and mouth feel of the finished product and also helps the patties stay together.
Plus, you can just roughly debone the chicken and don’t have to worry about shredding and chopping it fine by hand.
This is a basic recipe that’s also flexible enough to hold your family’s preferences. Whether you change the meat, the vegetables or the seasonings, this recipe can handle it. Just make sure to keep the ratio of everything else to eggs and bread crumbs close to the same.
I’ve used both plain and the fancier panko bread crumbs and I’ll admit, this is one of a few times I don’t prefer the crunchier panko.
My palate seems to prefer a smoother, more velvety texture in the croquette. If your mixture seems a little dry, add more chicken broth in small increments.
Remember, you can always put more in but you can’t take it out.
If health is a concern, you can use egg substitute and fat-free and/or reduced-sodium broth, and you could try baking them, but I much prefer the crunchier outside frying gets you.
If you keep the temperature of the oil right and don’t leave them in too long, these won’t be greasy.
Beth Colvin is The Advocate’s assistant Food editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.