Croquettes are as Dutch as wooden shoes and in Holland they are now even sold in vending machines on street corners. A typical Dutch croquette is made of meat ragout (veal for special occasions) covered in breadcrumbs, and deep fried until golden and crispy. Almost 350 million Croquettes are eaten each year, they are so popular that you can even get them at McDonalds as a "McKroket" in Amsterdam.
While these are now mass produced in Holland they are almost impossible to get in Toronto, Canada where I live so every year, for as long as I can remember, my mom has made them at Christmas. My mom is now in her 80's so I have also started making them to keep the family tradition alive.
In the traditional manner this is a 3 day process in order for the peices to cool down and bind between each step. Here is my mothers' recipe, in her hand writing, that she gave me 20 years ago from the steps passed down from her mother to her...
Step 1: Day 1 - the Meat...
- 2 Lbs Veal
- Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper
- Cut up veal, add salt + pepper + 1/4 onion add to stock pot
- Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer on low for 2-3 hours
- Strain out meat and save liquid
- Let both parts cool then cut up the meat very fine there should not be any large pieces (it should almost fall apart)
- Put everything in the fridge overnight.
Step 2: Day 2 - the Sauce...
The Veal "Liquid" should have congealed into a jelly like texture. This will be used as the base to the binding sauce of the Croquettes.
- Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a frying pan on medium heat
- Add a tbsp of flour, stir till combined
- Add some Veal jelly and continue stirring
- Transfer contents of frying pan to a larger pot but keep on medium heat
- Add some more flour, keep stirring
- Add more jelly and continue repeating this until all of the jelly is used
- Keep on heat until sauce boils
- It should be thick enough so that it separates when a spoon is pulled through sauce
- Stir in the chopped up Veal meat and season to taste
- Because of the amount of flour you will need to use more seasoning then what you would imagine
- You can fry up a small sample of meat to determine if the seasoning is correct.
- Once cool, put in fridge overnight to allow flavors to blend and everything to bind
Step 3: Day 3 - Rollin, Rollin, Rollin...
There are two traditional shapes for Croquettes: sausage shape or balls. Ball shapes are used more for bars and cocktail parties, while sausage shapes can be eaten as a small meal.
- In a bowl crack 2 eggs and add 2 tbsp of cold water
- Stir to blend thoroughly
- Pour breadcrumbs onto a flat dinner plate
- Fill sink or large bowl with warm water
- Moisten both hands
- Take some meat mixture and roll into sausage shape
- Roll meat through the egg mixture
- Roll through breadcrumbs to fully coat
- Roll back in Egg mixture and back in bread crumbs one more time
- Place on Cookie sheet and repeat until meat mixture is used up wetting your hands between each Croquette
Step 4: Fry & Serve...
- Heat oil in deep fryer or deep pot to 350°F
- Do not Crowd the pot only cook 3-4 at a time until golden brown
- Optionally serve with mustard and consume immediately while still crispy and hot
While for me this brings back childhood memories it is not an "exotic" dish and is great for something different at any type of party. Many Dutch people even add Indonesian spices such as curry to make them more flavorful. So spice them with any spice that you want to in order to make them your own family tradition!