I’m making chicken croquettes tonight. A., I’m obsessed with thinking of things that Ferdinand will eat, and B., I kept all the ingredients for my chicken soup separate last night for some unknown reason, assembling the soup bowl by bowl instead of all together in one big pot. It’s good to do things just for the heck of it sometimes, to shake it up and see how it feels. I looked in the fridge this morning and looked at the little bowl of soffritto (sauted carrots, celery, onion, and garlic), and the other of naked chicken meat; “I’m making croquettes out of you”, I said. Here’s hoping they take me somewhere I want to go.
Throw your barely cooked chicken breast in the food processor and grind it up. Make a white sauce, by heating up 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook it up for a few minutes until that raw taste of flour tastes like just baked shortbread. Turn off the heat. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of milk, about a quarter cup at a time. Turn the heat back on to medium flame, and whisking constantly, let it bubble until it is pretty thick, nearly like sour cream. Stir in your cooked soffritto and chicken. Grate in a little nutmgeg and parmesan cheese to taste. Taste for salt and black pepper. You can add a little chopped parsley or fresh thyme to this, but go easy. Stick the mix in the fridge. When it has cooled, shape them into cannelles (ovals tapered on the ends). Drop each into a beaten egg that has had a little water added to it, and then let them sit in a sieve that is resting on a bowl to let the egg drop off. Use Panko crumbs (in the Asian foods section). Get a big heap of the crumbs in a bowl, and keeping one hand for the wet stuff, and one hand reserved for the dry, drop the croquettes into the crumbs one by one, tossing the crumbs up around the sides and over the top. Set onto a plate or waxed paper. Heat up a large frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of butter. Don’t be shy here, you want the whole pan to be covered. More is better than less. You want the pan to be HOT–whatever you put in there will make a big sizzle on contact. Set them in, without overcrowding, and cook to a beautiful golden on each side. The chicken is already cooked, so you don’t have to worry about being sure they are cooked through.
I served them with just a little salad, but they would be beautiful surrounded by a small pool of reduced heavy cream. Simmer a pint of heavy cream with a garlic clove and a sprig of thyme and a pepper corn and a pinch of salt added to it until it is reduced by half and strain.
They are delicious cold as well; in a sandwich or out.