Chicken croquetas with piquillo pepper mayo

Here’s a lovely party recipe of breadcrumbed chicken served with a piquant mayonnaise. Irresistible.

Ingredients

For the croquetas
  • 75g/3oz butter
  • 200g/7oz plain flour
  • 500ml/18fl oz milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 75g/3oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • 150g/5oz cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh tarragon, leaves picked and chopped
  • 75g/3oz plain flour
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 75g/3oz panko Japanese breadcrumbs
  • 50g/1¾oz ground almonds
  • rapeseed oil, for deep frying
  • 1 large bunch watercress, to garnish
For the mayonnaise
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 1-2 tsp English mustard
  • 100ml/3½fl oz rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 75g/3oz piquillo peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation method

  1. For the croquetas, melt the butter in a large saucepan, then whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk gradually until you have a very thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Stir in the fresh breadcrumbs, chicken and tarragon, then place in the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours.

  3. Shape the chilled mixture into 7cm/2¾in cylinders. Place the flour, beaten eggs and panko breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Add the ground almonds to the panko breadcrumbs and mix well. Coat each cylinder in the flour, then egg and finish with a layer of breadcrumbs.

  4. Add the oil into a deep-fat fryer and preheat to 170C/338F. (Caution: Do not leave hot oil unattended.)

  5. Deep fry the croquetas in batches until golden-brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

  6. For the mayonnaise, whisk the egg yolks with the mustard in a bowl and then gradually add the oil, whisking continuously. Stir through the vinegar, piquillo peppers and parsley, then season with salt and pepper.

  7. To serve, put the croquetas on a board with the watercress alongside and a bowl of pepper mayonnaise for dipping.

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