April 13, 2009

High Country Croquettes

The "high country" to which I refer in the title to this recipe is the high-water areas of the Rhine and Rhone valleys in western Europe, in reference to the use of ham and bleu cheese.

4 oz. ham
4 oz. bleu cheese (Roquefort is the best for this purpose)
4 eggs
6 small russet potatoes
chicken stock
bread crumbs
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

Peel, quarter and boil the potatoes in the chicken stock. Mince the ham into very small pieces, less than 1/4 inch to a side. Thoroughly mix two of the eggs together. Drain potatoes when they are soft; add mixed eggs and milk and whip potatoes until they are tender and easily pliable in the hands. Then fold in ham, bleu cheese, and spices. Form the potatoes into small (approximately two-ounce) patties; either flat square or cigar shapes work best.

In separate bowl, mix remaining two eggs. Batter each patty by soaking each patty in egg and then dredging in bread crumbs. If possible, store overnight in freezer or refrigerator to allow breaded croquette to solidify.

To serve, fry croquettes in very hot vegetable oil. Remove from oil very carefully (potato croquettes are fragile) and drain excess fat on paper towels. Alternatively, bake at 350 degrees until breading browns. Serve hot.

My mistake this weekend was not breading the croquettes before frying them. The resulting unencased croquettes dissolved in the oil and more than half my food was lost during frying; what survived was very tasty but not useful as anything other than a high-fat accent dish.

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