The feedback on my opening post, you could say my amuse-bouche, has been incredible. Understandably the majority of responses have been from people I know, but what has been really encouraging are the comments I get from those I do not. In particular a lovely sounding lady called Hilary. Finding the courage and self-belief to write a food blog, especially an interesting one, has been an arduous process. I have been taking the plunge one toe at a time.
So to you all, Thank you very much!
Without a doubt, there have been some changes. Most notably the picture of myself in the About section. I have been told I look like a right chinless wonder and that nobody wants to see me in my morning suit quaffing an apple flavoured martini (my fav!). Therefore I have replaced it with a photo of me perusing a menu in a restaurant, or should I now pronounce it res-tor-raun? You know, the way some foodies do.
To keep the ball rolling I have decided to submit my first recipe – croquetas de pollo! (Hopefully the exclamation mark will encourage you to strike the pose of a bull fighter shouting ‘Ole!’…or is that just me?).
I first heard about this recipe whilst working at a well known chain of Spanish restaurants during my last year at university. I use the adjective “Spanish” very loosely; it was about as Spanish as my post A-Levels holiday to Magaluf. The exchange students who worked there were the only element of Iberian authenticity to the whole establishment. It was understandable that they held the food they served in contempt, in particular Rafa, a Mallorcan, from where this dish hails.
He must have really complained to his mother as she actually mailed him a hamper, and snuggled amongst the chorizo, jamón Serrano, manchego cheese, tortas de aceite and turrón was where I found this tupperware-ensconced delicacy. I was enamoured at first bite.
Today I rely on it as a starter, a moreish snack and believe it to be one of the ultimate comfort foods (a much healthier and less post-devourement-guilt-inducing alternative to a chicken nugget).
Whilst I have compiled many recipes for this particular dish, I have found the best offering has come from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage cookbook.
Croquetas de Pollo
Makes about 20
You will need:
350 ml of full cream milk
50g of butter
50g of plain flour
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
250g poached chicken breast
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tbsp of parsley
75g of breadcrumbs (I recommend fine blending some olive oil toasted baguette laced with ground nutmeg)
Couple of glugs of Olive Oil
Groundnut Oil (will be used for frying, so make sure you have enough)
Salt and Pepper
1 Gem Lettuce
Juice of half a lemon
- Heat the milk in a sauce pan (do not boil).
- In a heavy frying pan melt the butter then add the flour. Stir into a fine roux.
- Bit by bit add the warm milk (remember not to boil).
- Stir continuously for two minutes then remove from heat.
- You should now have a lovely béchamel sauce to put aside.
- Sweat the garlic and onion in olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Once sweated, place garlic and onions and the poached chicken into your blender.
- With a wooden spoon fold the béchamel sauce and herbs into the blended mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into a container…cover and place in fridge to cool (this is very important as the cooled mixture will allow you to successfully mould the croquetas).
- One cooled (to avoid sticky fingers, dust your hands in flour) mould the mixture into any shape you want. I normally try to shape small circular spheres of chickeny goodness and end up with small patty-like creations. Whatever the case they will taste wonderful.
- Each croquetas should be coated in flour, rolled in the beaten eggs and blanketed in the breadcrumbs.
- Heat some groundnut oil in a frying pan.
- Fry each of the croquetas for approximately 2 to 2 ½ minutes on both sides until brown (remember to place on some kitchen roll to soak up the last vestiges of excess oil).
- Serve on a bed of finely chopped lettuce, drizzled in lemon and possibly with a sauce for dipping. I recommend a sweet chilli sauce.
Please do tell me what you think.