This recipe is surprisingly simple and good. But, this recipe was also daunting. I am afraid of deep-frying. As a newly-wed, I made something that was deep-fried. Because I did not have many pots back then, and needed to use that pot for another part of the meal, I pulled out a bowl to hold the hot oil. I also did not have many bowls then; the bowls I had were all made of glass: pyrex. Heat tested pyrex.
The top of the bowl exploded. Bits of glass flew in an instant. I clearly remember the bowl–wonderfully cut perfectly level and straight. Then I saw my hand: bright red. That was the last time I deep-fried anything until I started this project. I am very very careful now.
Potato and Beef Croquettes
- (adaptaion: I made only 1/2 the recipe, but by mistake added the whole original amount of ground beef, which did not seem excessive to me.)
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (I used red-skinned yellow potatoes)
In a large pot of water, simmer the whole potatoes, with their skins, until soft. Drain and discard the water. Pull the skins off and cut the potatoes into quarters. Return them to the pot and dry-cook over medium heat, shaking the pan to remove excess water from the potatoes. I riced the potatoes into a large bowl, but use your preferred method to mash the potatoes. Reserve.
The onions and meat:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (you can use vegetable oil)
- 1 good-sized onion (I used most of a large Spanish onion, but ordinary yellow onions would be fine)
- 1/2 pound ground beef
Heat a skillet and over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until they are soft. Add the beef to the skillet and cook over high heat. Mash the meat into the onions so there are no large chunks. Turn heat down and cook so there is no moisture left in the skillet.
Mixing and chilling:
- 1 Tablespoon minced parsley (mine had gone bad, but it would have been a nice colorful addition)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Add the seasonings to the potatoes and mix well. Add the beef and onion mixture and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and chill for 20 minutes or more. I used a snowbank outside the back door—snow has to be good for something! Cooling makes mashed potatoes firmer and easier to shape. Chilling is an important step when you make gnocchi as well.
Divide the mixture into quarters and form each into a thick log. Cut each log into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a soft rectangle 1 1/2″ by 2 1/4.” Place on a rack over a cookie sheet covered with parchment.
The original recipe suggests that the cook make 10 (well, 20, but the ingredients I post here would make half of that) pieces about 3″ by 4.” The original recipe also gives the alternative of making these croquettes as an appetizer; make 30 (well 60) small balls. So, because I made 32 little croquettes, I made something like the appy version, but flattened.
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Put each of the above in separate dishes. Roll each of the croquettes in the flour and put them back on the rack. The original recipe notes that you can cover and refrigerate these for as long as a day.
I’m learning that letting the flour rest on dumpling-like things is good—fried coatings stick better for having the little vacation. I floured my pieces and let them sit for about 1/2 hour.
Dip each piece in the egg, drain, and pat the panko on. Place on the rack again. The original recipe notes that you can wrap these well and freeze.
- oil to fry (2″ deep)
Heat the oil to 370°F. Because the ingredients are already cooked, your aim is to crisp and brown the coating.
Serve the korokke over salad greens, with tonkatsu sauce poured over or in a saucer.
Make fish croquettes by replacing the beef with canned salmon. For vegetarian croquettes, use canned corn and peas instead of meat. Or replace the potatoes with sweet potatoes.
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