Chicken Croquettes

If you’re in the American Midwest right now, then you and I have one thing in common: heat. It’s been hotter the last week than it has been all summer. It’s like we were lulled into this sense of calm and restful temperatures only to have Nature turn on its furnace and yell out at the last-minute, “Gotcha!”

Well played, Nature. Well played.

Since this kind of heat usually means that I avoid the kitchen, I haven’t been cooking much. But I was so curious about something that I decided to throw caution to the non-existent wind and give it a shot.

A few weeks ago, I happened upon a tube of Tyson’s Ground Chicken. Now, I’ve never had ground chicken; I assumed that it was comparable to ground turkey, and since I don’t like ground turkey, I never made the transition to ground chicken. But the golden tube intrigued me. “It . . . tasks me,” as Khan Noonian Singh would say, and after a while I grew curious about what one could do with ground chicken.

Long story short, I decided to make chicken croquettes. I’d heard of them but never tasted any until two days ago when I made them for dinner. A few things surprised me. For starters, I’ve got quite a few cookbooks, yet none had a recipe for chicken croquettes. So my first question was, “Is this a real dish, or am I thinking of something else?” I used to prepare salmon croquettes all of the time; surely someone’s done that dish with chicken before. Right? None of the salmon recipes were consistent – seems each book had its own take on that classic recipe. One was as simple as mixing flaked salmon with salt, pepper, and an egg. Others were more complex.

In the end, I decided to just experiment and the end result was pretty good:

1. Heat a skillet (or deep fryer) with oil. [I used a skillet that had about 1/2″ to 1″ of vegetable oil.]

2. While that’s heating, mix 1 lb (1 tube) of ground chicken (which I first rinse as the Tyson’s has a thin coating of blood) with about a 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs, 1/4 c. diced onion, and 1/4 c. diced green pepper. Add 1 egg, 1-1/2 tsp. seasoned salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper. Mix all of this thoroughly – with your hands.

Note: I generally season to taste and I love onions and green pepper. So if you’ve a more refined palate, you may want to cut those measurements down to suit your own tastes.

3. Once your oil is hot enough (test it with a small amount of mixture or a corner of bread), craft small patties and carefully place them into the oil. They’ll start cooking immediately. Wait until the underside is brown (it should have a firm, crusty appearance), and then carefully turn the patty over and let that side cook as well.

I can’t give you any idea on the amount of cooking time because it depends on the thickness of each patty, as well as the mechanics of your stove top. I had one patty take five minutes total; another took almost ten.

4. When done, remove the patties and drain. I was feeling adventurous, so when I served mine, I also put a spoonful of sour cream on the side; I would imagine any flavorful sauce might work.

In the end, it was pretty good. The Little Woman has insisted that I make them again soon, so I’m thinking that I’ll have more opportunities to experiment with the various seasonings and spices on my shelf. Perhaps a Moroccan flavored chicken croquettes? It has possibilities!

As I said, this was an experiment, so it’s a work in progress. I’ve actually got some ideas now on other dishes that might be worth trying, including one that I may follow-up on once the temperatures drop a bit. If you were to try this, be careful in using hot oil.

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