Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Dining Car: Chicken Croquettes

When I lived in New Jersey, I went on a pretty regular basis to a diner in my neighborhood.  This definitely isn't a thing in Texas, so I was fascinated.  This was also the first time I had a chicken croquette.  Oddly shaped like little cones, they're basically fried chicken dumplings.  Absolutely fantastic with mashed potatoes and gravy for a comfort meal.  It takes a while to get these all together, but they're definitely worth it.

Note: I, like basically everyone, love fried foods, but I do not love trying to clean up the used oil afterwards.  I opted to try the air fryer method, and it worked perfectly.  Even if it's not particularly healthier, it's definitely easier.  Also, when grinding the chicken, do not grind it into a paste.  You want a little bit of chicken chunks.  I hit the button on my food processor for about 5 or so seconds, and I think I got a good consistency.

Chicken Croquettes
Adapted from The Dining Car restaurant, Philadelphia, PA, as seen at Food Network

1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt, to taste
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 stalk celery, minced
½ small onion, minced
1 cup all-purpose flour
1¼ pounds cooked chicken meat (meat from one rotisserie chicken), ground in food processor 

2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups fine breadcrumbs

In a heavy pot, heat the milk and chicken stock on the stove and then add the white pepper, fresh parsley, and salt, if needed. In a separate heavy pot, melt the butter and add the minced celery and onion.  Cook until tender, approximately 7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the dough from burning. Pour in the hot milk mixture and stir until thickened and smooth. Fold in the chicken meat and allow to cool.

Shape 3-ounce portions of croquette batter in the shape of a cone and place on a tray lined with waxed paper. Next make an egg wash from the milk, eggs, and salt. Dip the croquettes in the egg wash and then into the flour and let stand a few minutes. Finish breading by dipping the croquettes back in the egg wash and then rolling in breadcrumbs.

Fry the croquettes in a pot with salad oil or liquid shortening, heated to 350°F, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and blot on paper towels. Place on a bed of mashed potatoes and top each croquette with chicken gravy.

Alternatively, spray each croquette with oil and cook in an air fryer set to 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and hot.

Makes 15 croquettes

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