Hye Thyme Cafe: Chicken Croquettes

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chicken Croquettes

Chicken Croquettes : Hye Thyme Cafe

My brother-in-law mentioned Chicken Croquettes a few years back, and that got me thinking. I hadn't had them since I was a kid. It seemed to me that I liked them, so why hadn't I ever made them? I came up with this recipe and have been making it semi-regularly ever since. It makes about 18-20 croquettes, but they freeze great, so no worries if that's more than you need.

The funny thing was that the first time I made them, I was informed that they were the wrong shape. Huh? 😕 Because the recipes I looked at for a starting point all pretty much said to use 1/3 cup portions for each croquette, I scooped out 1/3 cup, rolled them into balls, and flattened them out - kinda like a crab cake. So the next time I made them, I used a 1/3 cup measuring scoop to form them, but that wasn't right either - they're supposed to be more conical. Hmmmm. The closest I could come was a silicon spoon. The croquettes are oblong, flat on the bottom and higher on the top.  

You can serve these with your favorite white sauce or gravy, but I like to kill two birds with one stone - umm, cover two dishes with one sauce - and serve them with Asparagus Shortcakes. That way, the sauce is built right into your side dish and you don't have to make something separate. Tune in tomorrow for the asparagus. 

3-4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
onion, carrot, celery, broth, herbs - for poaching the chicken

10 T butter - divided
6 T flour
1 c milk
1 c chicken broth - reserved from poaching liquid
1/2 t salt
4c shredded cooked chicken - pulse in processor with plastic blade
1 1/2 c dry seasoned bread crumbs - divided
1 c fresh bread crumbs
1 small onion, diced fine
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
3/4 c grated Parmesan - divided
4 eggs, beaten

Line pot with celery, split carrots, and onion; cover with chicken and whatever herbs you like, then just barely cover with broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to very low, cover, and cook for about 25-30" or until firm to the touch. Remove pan from heat, remove cover, and let chicken cool a bit before shredding.

The first time I made these, I ran the chicken through the food processor with the regular metal blade, but I wasn't pleased with the texture. It seemed kinda pebbly. The next time I made them, my sister suggested I try the smaller plastic blade, and that worked out great. It had more of a shred to it, like some people make their chicken salad (I prefer mine chunky).

In a large bowl, stir together 1c of the dry bread crumbs with the fresh bread crumbs,  1/4 c Parmesan, parsley, and onion. Add your 4c of shredded chicken and the beaten eggs, then set aside.

Melt 6T butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for several minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and slowly stir in the milk and broth until smooth. Add the salt, return to the heat, and cook until thick. Keep giving it a stir until you notice it start to stick to the side of the pot - then you'll know it's starting to thicken and you should keep stirring so it won't burn on the bottom.

See how it's sticking to the side now...

Stir the sauce into the chicken mixture, then refrigerate for 2 hours or longer to soak up the sauce and let the flavors meld.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 c of dry bread crumbs and 1/2 c Parmesan. When I first started using the silicon spoon to form the croquettes, I had a hard time getting them to release from the spoon, then it occurred to me that once I got past the first one, I could use the bread crumbs like you would flour a spatula - I ran the spoon through the bread crumbs so enough would adhere to what was stuck on the spoon to make the chicken come out more easily. Scoop down into the chicken and then scrape the spoon up along the side of the bowl like you would if using a cookie scoop. Pop the chicken out into your hand so it doesn't break, then roll it around in the crumbs and place on a tray sprayed with cooking spray.

Chicken Croquettes : Hye Thyme Cafe

Melt the remaining 2T of butter and drizzle it over the tops, then bake them off at 350 for 30-40", until golden.

Chicken Croquettes : Hye Thyme Cafe

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