I threw a party last night – woohoo! Portuguese hosts know that in order for a party to be successful you need good food in generous quantities (nobody leaves a Portuguese person’s house hungry). One food I always enjoy making is croquetes de carne (meat croquettes). They’re a staple starter or hors d’oeuvre in Portugal and my friends can’t get enough of them! Here’s a recipe for becoming really popular really quickly. I mean, here’s a recipe for croquetes de carne.
What’s great about these, is that you can prepare them in advance, put them in the freezer and then simply fry them the day of your party. The recipe itself isn’t difficult, but it does require a bit of work. This recipe makes about 28 rolls.
500 g (1.1 lbs) of organic beef
75 g (0.16 lbs) of chouriço
1 medium carrot
250 ml (1 cup) of 2% or full fat milk
1 small bread roll
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
3 whole eggs
1 egg white
Breadcrumbs (regular breadcrumbs, not panko)
Parsley (some chopped, some whole, for decoration)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1) Boil the beef, chouriço and carrot together until they are cooked. Do not throw out the water you used to cook it in. Put them in a food processor until the mixture is evenly chopped up.
2) Boil the milk. Put the bread roll in a bowl and add the boiling milk to the bowl. Let the bread absorb the milk until it’s nice and soft. Break it up using a fork until you achieve an porridge-like consistency.
3) In a frying pan, drizzle enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and let it simmer for a bit. Put on a low heat.
4) Add the chopped meat, the butter, the milky bread, the flour, the egg white, a couple of spoonfuls of the water you cooked the meat in, the chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir all the ingredients until you achieve a uniform texture that is dense but malleable. Turn off the heat.
5) Let the mixture cool. While it cools, stir the eggs together in a small bowl until all the whites and yolks are evenly mixed. Set aside.
6) Roll the meat into the traditional roll shape in the pictures or into tiny little balls for an easier and smaller shape. Cover the roll in breadcrumbs, cover it lightly in the stirred eggs, and cover it in breadcrumbs again. Set aside. Repeat for all the rolls/balls.
7) Add olive oil to a frying pan on a high heat, then place a few of the unfried croquetes in the oil at a time, turning them as they start browning. Once they achieve a golden-brown color all around, put them on a plate or tray with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Repeat for all your croquetes.
8) They are ready to serve immediately. Add some whole parsley to decorate your croquete platter when you are ready to serve – watch them disappear!