When the going gets tough, a lot of us turn to our comfort foods. Mine is Cuban food, of course.
But first, my apologies to those who received an email from me before my post was actually ready to be seen. Promise I’m much less dangerous in the kitchen!
So, here’s my recipe for croquetas, one of the foods Merci loves in Merci Suáerz Changes Gears. Croquetas can be eaten as appetizers or as part of a main meal, with a side of black beans and white rice, the way I like. They’re basically made from any left over meat, usually red meat and ham, but it doesn’t much matter.
I won’t lie; they’re messy to make, even though the individual steps are easy. It’s much faster to go to a Latinx bakery and point at what you want in the case. But making croquetas calms me. It reminds me of the people I love. It’s also a great way for several people in the kitchen to work together and pass the time, talking and laughing. And this week, when I’ve felt fretful and sad about so many different types of losses, I found comfort in making them.
leftover beef, chicken or ham, about 8 oz or so
2 or three slices of deli ham
1/2 c of white flour
1 can evaporated milk (you will use about 2/3 of a can)
3/4 sticks of unsalted butter
nutmeg (about 1/2 tsp)
salt and pepper
2 eggs, whisked in a shallow bowl
2 c of Italian flavored bread crumbs in a shallow dish
- Cut your meat into chunks and grind in a food processor. Transfer to bowl.
- Grind slices of ham or a chunk of ham steak and transfer to same bowl.
- Grind onion in food processor until it is almost soupy. No large chunks of onion, please.
- Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and saute until translucent. Transfer to bowl when done.
- Whisk together flour and about 2/3 can of evaporated milk. Add nutmeg to taste.
- Combine all ingredients and transfer to a saucepan.
- Cook the flour/meat mixture on low heat for about 8 minutes.
- Transfer to a plate and refrigerator for at least 3 hours or until chilled through.
- When the meat mixture is cooled, prepare two bowls for the breading process.
- Pinch a bit of meat mixture. Roll and form into small cigar shapes, about 2 1/2 inches long
- Dip each croqueta in beaten egg and then in bread crumbs. Continue until the croquetas are made
- Heat corn or canola oil in a frying pan. (Oil should be deep enough to cover the croquetas halfway.) Turn them halfway through cooking when the breadcrumbs brown.