Croqueta is Spanish; croquette is French-English. They may look the same on the outside but, inside, they are different.
Croqueta is made with stiff bechamel sauce stirred with chopped meat and/or vegetables. The mixture is chilled until firm enough to shape into balls or logs which are then dipped in beaten eggs, coated with bread crumbs and fried.
Croquette is made with mashed potatoes stirred with chopped meat and/or vegetables. Chilling is not required as the mixture, even at room temperature, is firm enough to shape, dipped in egg, dredged in bread crumbs and fried.
But tradition aside, there are hybrids these days. There are recipes for croqueta that use mashed potatoes mixed with cream. This hybrid was the starting point of my recipe. I’m no purist, after all.
Instead of cream, I used grated cheese to act as a binder. To the mashed potato-cheese mixture, I stirred in cooked ground pork and bacon, and some chopped vegetables. I shaped the mixture into small logs and put them in the freezer to make sure that they would retain their shape during frying.
After frying, the cheese melted, the mashed potato softened… Oh, the croquetas were lovely.
- 400 grams starchy (as opposed to waxy) potatoes
- 125 grams belly bacon, chopped
- 125 grams ground pork
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- cooking oil for deep frying
- 1 egg
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- Peel the potatoes and dice. Place in a pan, cover with water and sprinkle in some salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
- While the potatoes cook, prepare the meat and vegetables. Heat a frying pan and spread the chopped bacon on the bottom. Cook until fat has been rendered.
- Add the ground pork, garlic, onion, sun-dried tomatoes and scallions. Cook until the pork is lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to a plate and cool.
- Drain the potatoes and mash with a little salt and pepper. Cool.
- Stir the grated cheese into the cooled mashed potatoes. Blend in the pork-bacon mixture. Divide into nine to 12 portions. Form each portion into a log about an inch thick.
- Arrange the shaped logs on a tray then freeze for 40 minutes.
- Start heating cooking oil in a frying pan. The oil should be at at least three inches deep.
- Beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
- Spread the bread crumbs in another bowl.
- Take the logs out of the freezer. Dip each one in egg then roll in bread crumbs.
- Fry the logs over medium-high heat until golden and crisp.
- Serve the pork and bacon croquetas immediately.