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Chicken Croquetas

July 2012

Makes about 36 croquetas
¼ pound unsalted butter
½ Spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped (about ½ cup)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 pinch nutmeg
10 ounces chicken, boiled and shredded (leftover chicken from a stock is ideal)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cups Spanish extra-virgin olive oil

Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent, about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in 1½ cups of the flour and continue stirring vigorously until well combined. Cook for about 3 minutes until mixture becomes frothy and golden in color. Pour the milk into the mixture, stirring continuously, and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, until you have a thick béchamel sauce. Season to taste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and nutmeg.

Add the chicken and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Cook for another 2 minutes until you have a thick mixture that you can mold in your hands. Carefully pick up a bit of the mixture and try to ball it with your hands. It shouldn’t be too sticky. If it does stick to your hands, allow the mixture to cook a little longer. Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet to allow to cool. 

Once cool enough to handle, take a spoonful of the mixture and roll in your hands to make a small cylinder, about the size of a wine cork. Roll the cylinder in the remaining 1 cup flour, then in the eggs, and then in the breadcrumbs and set aside on another cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture until you have about 36 croquetas. 

In a small deep frying pan, heat the olive oil to 375 degrees on candy thermometer. Working in batches, add the croquetas, making sure they are covered completely in oil. Fry until golden, about 1 minute, then transfer to a paper towel-lined tray to let drain. Be sure to allow the oil to return to 375 degrees on the candy thermometer between batches. Season with salt and serve hot. 

Photography by Pablo de Loy