Skip to main content
Latino LifeSelf-care

Comfort foods a la Merci Suárez: My recipe for croquetas

By March 23, 2020No Comments

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

1 onion

nutmeg (about 1/2 tsp)

salt and pepper

For breading:

2 eggs, whisked in a shallow bowl

2 c of Italian flavored bread crumbs in a shallow dish

food processor

How to:

  1. Cut your meat into chunks and grind in a food processor. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Grind slices of ham or a chunk of ham steak and transfer to same bowl.
  3. Grind onion in food processor until it is almost soupy. No large chunks of onion, please.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and saute until translucent. Transfer to bowl when done.
  5. Whisk together flour and about 2/3 can of evaporated milk. Add nutmeg to taste.
  6. Combine all ingredients and transfer to a saucepan.
  7. Cook the flour/meat mixture on low heat for about 8 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a plate and refrigerator for at least 3 hours or until chilled through.
  9. When the meat mixture is cooled, prepare two bowls for the breading process.
  10. Pinch a bit of meat mixture. Roll and form into small cigar shapes, about 2 1/2 inches long
  11. Dip each croqueta in beaten egg and then in bread crumbs. Continue until the croquetas are made
  12. 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.
Meg Medina

Author Meg Medina

I'm Meg Medina, author of libros for kids of all ages. I'm the 2019 Newbery medalist for Merci Suárez Changes Gears. I write strong girls, tough circumstances, and the connecting power of culture. Thanks for visiting my blog!

More posts by Meg Medina

Sign up for News from Meg

Join our mailing list to receive the latest blog posts from Meg right to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!