Pork and beef croquettes

Pork and beef croquettes

Croquetes de carne

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Makes
20
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The best croquetes have a wonderfully deep, rich flavour and a beautiful contrast between the unctuous middle and crisp coating. My favourites are made to a secret family recipe at a pastelaria in Estoril, so I’ve had to rely on my intuition to develop this recipe. Thankfully, it’s so good that I no longer have to trek to Portugal every time the craving strikes.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, finely diced
1 bay leaf
160g good-quality pork mince
160g good-quality beef mince
5 slices iberico ham, finely chopped
A splash madeira
A splash brandy
A pinch freshly grated nutmeg
35g butter
35g plain white flour
500ml whole milk
portuguese-style mustard, to serve
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

For the coating

Quantity Ingredient
100g plain white flour
4 eggs, beaten
200g breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for frying

Method

  1. To make the filling — Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic, carrot and bay leaf and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft. Season with salt and pepper, add the pork, beef and Ibérico ham, increase the heat and cook until browned. Drain off any excess fat, keeping a little in for flavour. Taste for seasoning and add the Madeira, brandy and nutmeg to your taste. Remove the bay leaf and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes until light golden brown. Pour in the milk gradually, whisking constantly, then bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir this into the meat filling and taste for seasoning. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool, covered with clingfilm to stop a skin forming.
  3. To coat the croquettes — Put the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs into three separate shallow bowls. Shape tablespoons of the filling lightly with your hands into rough cylinders. Dip each one in the flour, then in the egg and shake gently to get rid of any excess. Dip in the breadcrumbs and repeat the process (I prefer to use a double coating for a better shape). Reshape after coating, then chill for 30 minutes.
  4. One-third fill a large heavy-based pan with vegetable oil and heat it to 180°C, or until a cube of bread sizzles and turns golden brown almost immediately. Fry in batches, turning as needed, for 3–4 minutes, or until golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the pan or they won’t cook evenly. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, then serve by themselves or with Portuguese-style mustard.
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