I’ve had a long term love affair with these crispy little deep-fried bites of deliciousness. To me, they taste of Spanish holidays and evenings still warm from the sun. Whilst many countries do different versions of croquettes, I’ve opted for the Spanish inspired flavours of Manchego cheese and chorizo for this recipe. Originally, I had hoped to make it with Iberico ham but I couldn’t get my hands on any – I think it would make a delicious substitute for the chorizo however if you fancy giving it a try.
Mixing some of our Shipton Mill maize grits or polenta in with the breadcrumbs adds some extra crispiness and bite to the outer coating. I use sourdough breadcrumbs for the flavour, but these need to be blitzed very finely. Panko breadcrumbs also work well.
Serve hot with a simple squeeze of lemon, and perhaps an ice cold beer or glass of wine on the side.
Makes 20 croquettes
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallots and fry over a low heat until the shallots turn translucent, for approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of flour and stir.
In a small saucepan heat the milk, salt and pepper and nutmeg until it is warmed through, but don’t let it boil. Add the milk slowly to the shallot and flour mix, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Add the chorizo and Manchego and combine.
Pour the mixture into a wide, shallow dish, cover with cling film, and chill it in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Place the spelt flour (or plain flour) in a large shallow bowl. Place the beaten egg in a separate shallow bowl, and the sourdough breadcrumbs mixed with maize grits on a plate. This will be your “coating” station.
Remove the croquette filling from the fridge, and roll it into either balls or sausage shapes (whichever you prefer). I allow roughly a tablespoon of filling per croquette. Coat each croquette in flour, followed by egg, followed by the sourdough breadcrumb and polenta mixture. Make sure there are no gaps for the filling to leak through.
Fill a large saucepan one third full with oil. Heat it to 190℃ but no hotter. If you don’t have a heatproof thermometer to check the temperature, drop a breadcrumb or a grain of rice into the oil – if it floats and sizzles, the oil is ready. If the oil smokes it is too hot and should not be used.
Using a metal slotted spoon, lower in the croquettes and fry them in batches, for around 5 minutes per croquette. The outside should be golden and crispy. Don’t be tempted to overcrowd the pan, or they won’t cook properly.
Remove the croquettes using the metal slotted spoon and drain on paper kitchen towel. Serve while still hot. These should be consumed shortly after frying, otherwise the coating loses its crunch.