Spaniards' all-time favourite tapa: Croquetas! (Croquettes with bechamel & ham recipe)
One of the favorite tapas of the Spaniards is “croquetas” or croquettes. You can find them on the menu of almost all tapas bars. At home, the most requested dish from Spanish grandparents is croquettes. So why are croquettes so popular in Spain? First, these aren't just the potato or cheese croquettes we know. To make these croquettes, they make bechamel sauce and mix it with any of these ingredients: ham/bacon, blue cheese, mushrooms, chicken, or even fish. Therefore, it has a much softer consistency and the flavor is richer. The second reason why it is always the top requested tapa is that it is difficult to make these delicious croquettes with the right consistency. That's why people usually leave croquettes to the master cooks, rather them cooking croquettes themselves.
My husband and I used veal pastrami for this recipe and it was very good. But as I said above, you can also use a different ingredient such as chicken or cheese and mushrooms. By the way, beware, this recipe takes some time. Ideally, it should be done in two days because we need to refrigerate the mixture overnight (but if you're in a hurry you can leave it for a few hours).
If you want to try these incredibly delicious croquettes that are crispy on the outside and and soft and nice on the inside, I am giving you the recipe right away!
Ingredients: (for approximately 25 croquettes)
(For the mixture)
- 1 lt of milk
- 3 big spoons of flour
- 1 big onion
- 100 -150 gr of ham/bacon
- 50 gr of butter
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
(To cover the croquettes)
- 3 eggs
- 2 big spoons of flour
- Dried bread crumbs
- Olive oil to fry them
First, dice the onion and cut the ham/bacon into small cubes as well. Pour some olive oil into a pan and start frying them over medium heat. Add a little black pepper and salt to it. Cook a little, then pass the flour through a sieve and add it to the mixture in the pan. Onions and bacon will be completely covered with flour. When it turns a little brown, we add half of the milk and start mixing it constantly so that it does not clump together. We continue to add the milk to the mixture from time to time and mix. When the mixture starts to boil, we add the butter into it and continue to mix by lowering the heat a little. You can also add the remaining milk at this point. After a while, you can take the mixture, which has become thicker, from the stove and put it in a glass container to cool (its consistency will be neither too liquid nor too thick). Before putting this mixture in the refrigerator to cool, cover it with cling film *in a way that it touches the mixture*. It is important that the stretch film touches the mixture because if you do not close it in this way, a hard layer is formed on it afterwards. We keep it in the fridge overnight, but if you're in a hurry, you can keep it in the fridge for a few hours.
The next day we start turning the mixture into croquettes! First, we take the cooled mixture out of the refrigerator and remove the cling film. Then, we take 3 bowls and put flour in one, eggs in the other, and ground dry bread crumbs in the last one. Before frying the croquettes, we need to cover the croquettes with these in order.
With the help of two spoons (or with your hands), take some of the mixture and shape it like meatballs. Then roll this croquette in flour first. After it is thoroughly covered, take it and put it in the egg bowl and dip it in the egg mixture. Finally, take it from there and put it in the bowl with the breadcrumbs and cover it completely with the crumbs. Your croquettes are ready to be fried!
After prepping all the croquettes this way, we put plenty of olive oil in a pot and wait until it gets hot. When the oil is hot, we start frying the croquettes one by one. It will be enough to fry for about a minute. If you put the croquettes on a plate with paper towel on it, you will get the excess oil. That's it, your delicious croquettes are ready! A tip: If you eat it while it's soft before it gets too cold, it tastes much better (My mouth is watering constantly as I am telling you about these. I wish I could eat it now!)
You can also watch all the steps in detail in our recipe video!
¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!