Let me sing the praises of the Cuban Ham Croquette.
Ham croquettes are the perfect food. Whether they’re smooshed between saltines, served with a bowl of chicken noodle soup or alongside birthday cake, we eat croquettes morning, noon, and night.
Making them is a labor of love in itself. It takes several hours(or, for optimal results, at least a day) of prep time before they are ready for the frying pan. The reason is that you want to freeze or semi-freeze the “masa”
in each stage of their creation so that you can shape them properly in stage one, coat them with cracker meal properly in stage two, and fry them without issues in stage three. The key to a great tasting “croqueta” is the balance of ham and the thick bechamel base. This recipe makes the most savory croquette that will withstand the frying process without falling apart.
Comments, questions or suggestions? Be sure to let me know below!
- 2 c minced ham
- 1 tsp. minced onion
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1 c. milk
- 3/4 c. flour
- 1 tsp. dry white cooking wine
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 c. cracker meal
- Mince the ham in a food processor until you have 2 cups and set aside. (about 1-2 large ham steaks)
- Combine milk, flour, salt and pepper in a bowl, whisk thoroughly, and set aside.
- Melt butter in a 2 qt. pot and saute onions over medium heat until translucent.
- Add the milk mixture and stir constantly over med-hi heat until the mixture begins to thicken into a dough-like consistency.
- Remove from the heat, add the minced ham to the mixture and combined until it is thoroughly mixed.
- At this stage, you will want to transfer the "masa" to a bowl and put in the fridge to chill for several hours or put in the freezer until the masa is firm but not frozen.
- When the masa is firm enough, take a tablespoon of meat in your hands and roll it like a small hot dog and continue until you've made approximately 16 croquettes. If you make them small/party size, you'll end up with roughly 30-35 of them. Place the croquettes in a container that will fit in your freezer, using a sheet of wax paper in between the stacks.
- Beat the two eggs and spread the cracker meal on a plate or shallow surface. Dip croquettes in the egg, then cracker meal, twice.
- Heat the oil in a pan or deep fryer to 375 degrees. Fry croquettes until golden brown. Transfer from pan to paper towels, to soak up excess oil.
- Any dry white cooking wine will work, but I recommend Edmundo's which you can find at the Cuban Food Market.
- Do not use bread crumbs instead of cracker meal. I can't tell you why it has to be this way, but it has to. Bread crumbs just won't do. The box of Golden Dipt cracker meal is insanely expensive. Buy a box of cheap unsalted saltines and pulverize one to one and a half sleeves of crackers in a baggie or in your Cuisinart.