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I've been working on Croquettes and I still don't get it. There are a good number of things too keep in mind for making them right. However, my last batch was a mess, again.

I'd like to pose a wiki like question on how to make the most awesome Meat-Velouté-Croquettes.

1- Broth. Take a knee-bone, knuckle meat, carrots, leek, celery, laurel, ... cover with cold water, bring to a soft boil and simmer for about two hours.

2- Make a Roux. Melt butter, stir in flour, let the mix simmer for a couple of minutes.

3- Mix the broth in with the roux and let that simmer for some time.

4- Taste. Cool.

5- Make Croquette rolls, pass them through flour, egg and breadcrumbs.

6- Cool or freeze.

7- Fry.

My problem was that I mixed too much broth with the roux. So, I mixed more roux and put that in with the Croquette mix. Then I mixed some more roux... After the cooling, it was impossible to make the croquette rolls. The mass would not roll, but kind of tear apart. Like the structure was too strong to establish new connections.

My wife thinks I should have left the mix simmer for longer than I did. Any suggestions?

Edit - I think the problem is in step 3. Now I just let it simmer until the mass gets 'cohesive'. After the cooling, shaping is not a problem any more.

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@Aaronut this is not a question about frying (I think) –  BaffledCook Jan 8 '11 at 17:58
    
I'm sorry, I thought croquettes were normally fried (it's in step 7 of your preparation). Feel free to change it if you like, but please don't use the [cooking-techniques] tag, because it's far too broad and essentially meaningless. Your question doesn't necessarily have to be about the frying itself for the tag to be useful; the point of a tag is that people interested/knowledgeable in frying and fried foods would likely be able to weigh in. –  Aaronut Jan 8 '11 at 18:04
    
Ok, thanks for the advise. –  BaffledCook Jan 8 '11 at 23:35

3 Answers 3

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How did you cool it?

Once it's reached room temperature, you should be able to put it in some cling film, parchment, or similar, and roll the whole thing into a log; from there, freeze it or at the very least put it in the fridge to chill.

You can then cut into the sized bits you want and bread them, then either chill or freeze for later, or fry after a couple of minutes rest for the breading to adhere well.

... and could you further describe the 'tearing' ? The only similar thing I can think of is if you add too much cornstarch to a soluton, it's possible to 'tear' it, but it'll immediately ooze again once you let it sit still.

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Thanks for the tip to roll the whole thing into a log. What I always do is to pour it into a dish and let it sit. First a room temp. then in the fridge. With tearing I mean the mix fell apart when I tried to form the log out of the chilled mixture. –  BaffledCook Jan 8 '11 at 18:01
    
Similar to the way cornstarch reacts, yes. –  BaffledCook Jan 8 '11 at 18:02
    
@GUI Junkie : Ah ... right ... once it's completely set, you can cut it into cubes, but you won't be able to shape like a dough any longer. I've never tried warming it ... it works for mashed potatoes, so it might work for this. –  Joe Jan 8 '11 at 18:11

I have always made croquettes with a filling surrounded by mashed potato. So that would be my first suggestion; another suggestion follows.

Make your filling as normal, allow it to cool. If it is too liquid, just drain extra. You want your filling to be moist but cohesive. NB: drain extra liquid before cooling; the extra moisture can compromise the structural integrity of your final product.

While it is cooling, make very smooth mashed potatoes. Season well, and include one egg yolk per two potatoes (assuming a fairly 'normal' sized potato, say 5 inches long or so; adjust for your local differences). Use only just enough butter and cream to hold the mash together and make it pliable. Chill rapidly.

When all ingredients are chilled, you may form logs:

Lay out a sheet of parchment paper or saran wrap. Spread a 1-1.5cm even layer of mash onto the saran. Lay a long 'sausage' of your filling along the mash, about 2cm from the long edge, parallel to it. Using the saran as a handle, carefully roll the mash around the filling to make an even layer around the filling. Pinch closed. Reserve extra mash for another use. Roll very tightly in the saran wrap and chill until quite solid.

Or you may form balls:

Take approximately a tangerine-sized amount of potato in your hand. Spread it to an even layer 1-1.5cm thick on your palm, in a rough circle. Place approx 2tbsp of your filling in the centre of the potato, and working around the circle slowly bring the edges up over the filling, pinching closed in the centre. Roll gently in your hands to smooth out any imperfections. Chill until quite solid.

When fully chilled, flour/egg/breadcrumb (I prefer panko, but use whatever you like) your croquettes. If you are making balls, I've found that a superior method is to deep fry briefly at 350 until barely golden. Remove from the fryer and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes (this does, we tested, allow the warmth to penetrate through). Then fry again until golden brown, consume with whatever condiments you prefer.

So that's one way.

For your specific recipe, there's a few options. If you want to really have fun, form your croquettes, dip in liquid nitrogen, then bread and fry as normal. Or you can just do this in your freezer.

But I think your problem is really how you are making your filling. I think your best bet would be to slow cook your meat with very little liquid--a long slow braise would be ideal, think of something like pulled pork for an example. Use any leftover cooking liquid, reduced, to provide enough moisture to hold your filling together.

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Try sweet potato, wrap two in clingfilm twice then microwave on medium high for 8 minutes, 10 minute break. pierce the film then check for done-ness with knife. follow another 8-10 mins. check if accepable by slicing in half longways and scraping w/ spoon/fork

I use a mix of this and regular boiled-potato mash (season 1 minute before removing from water)

Never heard of croquettes w/out potato..

Try finding a recipe for the japanese version "Korokke"

I make large batches of these at a time.

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Um... water for boiling potatoes should always be seasoned before the potatoes are added. The salt helps keep the integrity of the potato, as well as ensuring the whole thing is seasoned. Seasoning the water one minute before removing the potatoes won't really do much. –  daniel Apr 5 '11 at 3:19

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