Meat croquettes are so typical in Portugal that you can find them in any coffee shop along side sandwiches and pastries. They are also very common for birthday parties (children love them), as finger food in cocktail parties or as dinner with a salad or mashed potatoes. In Christmas, the turkey leftovers inevitably always end up in croquettes – actually we always make a bigger turkey and reserve some of it's juices so we can have left over meat to make croquettes. One of the great things about croquettes is that they freeze very well and you can fry them straight from the freezer, just keep the oil at a lower temperature so as the croquettes fry they also defrosts on the inside. I normally make them the size of a thumb or in mini size for parties. You can serve them with a sauce or dip if you fancy. —Maria Teresa Jorge
turkey leftovers, meat only, skin removed
1 1/2 ounces
all purpose flour
Turkey juices (if you don't have enough complete with milk)
medium shallots chopped finely
clove of garlic, green part removed and crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice
whole egg beaten for coating
breadcrumbs for coating
vegetable oil for oiling your hands to make croquettes
Sieve the turkey sauce/juices and measure 1/2 cup. If you don't have enough, complete with milk.
For the Bechamel: In a pan over medium heat melt the butter, add the shallots and crushed garlic. Cook stiring until the shallots are translucent. Add the flour and whisk vogorously. Pour in about 2/3 of the cup of turkey sauce/juices and whisk over medium heat until the bechamel thickens. Cook for 10 minutes so the flour is cooked. You need thick bechamel so add the remainder juices as you cook and as needed. Remove from the heat and add the 2 egg yolks, whisk them in vigorously. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg. Cover the sauce with plastic film directly on top of the sauce, set aside and let cool completely.
When cold add the minced parsley and the lemon juice.
In a food processor, mince the turkey meat and the chourizo, previously cut in small pieces. Transfer to a big bowl, add the bechamel and mix very well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Cover with plastic film and chill for 2 hours.
Beat the egg and put in a bowl. Put the breadcrumbs in a small tray. Put the vegetable oil in a bowl. Prepare a lined baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slightly oil the palm of your hands with some vegetable oil, take a small quantity of meat mixture and roll it between the palms of your hands and form a small cilinder about the size of your thumb. Flatten the tops. Coat it in the beaten egg and then cover in breadcrumbs pressing well so they attach to the whole croquette including the tops. Put on the tray lined with parchment paper. Finish all the meat mixture in the same way. Chill until time to cook.
At this point you can freeze the meat croquettes in trays and when they are frozen transfer them to a plastic bag and keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Heat up the canola oil and fry the croquettes letting them brown on one side before turning. Remove and put on kitchen paper towel to absorb oil. Serve hot or cold. If serving for dinner, they go really well with mashed potatoes or rice and a salad.