Croquetas or Croquettes are what I call “Spanish style chicken nuggets”. However, they are versatile as they can be made with different kinds of meat including fish. Adults and children love them alike which makes them a popular tapa (appetizer) throughout Spain.
Croquetas make a great lunch especially for children as they not only taste great but they’re nourishing. They’re made using flour, butter and whole milk creating a thick béchamel sauce. A meat is added and after a period of rest, they are deep fried in extra virgin olive oil.
Feel free to fry them up in coconut oil or farm fresh pork lard as these are also great sources of healthy saturated fats filled with vitamins and nutrients.
Being a busy mama, I always make a double batch of croquetas as they can be frozen and fried in smaller quantities as you need them.
Crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside, croquetas are typically made after a large batch of puchero andaluz or when having made homemade beef or chicken broth. The tender extra meat is shredded and used in the filling.
Next time you make homemade beef or chicken broth, save some of the meat for homemade Spanish croquetas. Your family will not be disappointed.
All Photos by Diana Bauman
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 2 heaping tablespoons whole wheat flour (or unbleached white)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups shredded beef, chicken, or cod (or any other meat you’d like to add)
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 farm fresh eggs, beaten
- bread crumbs
- extra virgin olive oil (sub coconut oil or farm fresh pork lard)
1. In a cast iron or heavy bottom pan heat 1/4 cup butter. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about five minutes.
2. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of whole wheat flour constantly stirring until browned.
3. Add 1/2 – 3/4 cup whole milk and stir continuously until the sauce has thickened and reduced.
4. Add another 1/2 – 3/4 cup of whole milk, a pinch of ground nutmeg and 1 tsp sea salt. Continue to stir and add 2 cups of your shredded meat or fish. You are making a thick béchamel sauce which simply means milk thickened with flour and butter. It should be thick enough that the sauce easily pulls away from the bottom of the pan. This is very important as we are going to be molding the bechamel sauce to make our croquetas.
5. Once the mixture has thickened, place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
6. After the mixture has rested and cooled roll a cylinder shape with your hands. Tip: if the mixture is sticking to your hands, dampen them with water.
7. Roll the cylinder in in the eggs then in the breadcrumbs. Set aside and repeat with the remaining mixture. At this point you can freeze the croquetas on a cookie sheet or baking stone and fry them later.
8. Fry the croquetas in extra virgin olive oil until browned on all sides. About 2 to 3 minutes per side.
As great as these taste piping hot, they’re even better the next day warmed up. Buen Provecho!
What are your favorite lunchtime nourishing recipes?