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Thursday, 16 April 2015

BITE SIZE: Tapas & Pintxos - #1 Croquetas

Chicken & Mushroom Croquetas

Snacks make perfect party food. Be it a dinner, a pass around cocktail party or even a sundowner get together, we don't really have to be boring, serving full meals all the time, the same foods, the same mood and the over all same activity! Serving snacks is folds more fun, and paired with the right coolers, drinks or even Gazpacho (cold soup) shots you allow for more interesting conversation and definitely a more fun ambience all together. Don't worry, a variety of snacks and in good amounts will fill up your guests just as a full menu of a seated meal would.

While all cuisines have major varieties of snacks to prepare, I find the Spanish & Basque people to be to the cooks with the snacking hooks! I had once spent 3 weeks just in the Basque region, mostly eating snacks and hardly repeating any one type! Seriously 3 full weeks of different flavours, mostly very interesting flavours and all in a bite or max 2 bites size! I do admit, I have always had a thing for bite size food, so perhaps I am biased to snacks!

Anyhow, summer is almost here, outdoor entertainment is absolutely fun, and since we all look for new ways and new ideas... this summer, I do not wish to bore you with the same old BBQ talk, and the same old entertainment tips with the repetitive same old activities, this summer why not make it more fun? Why not go BITE SIZE :)

So for the coming few posts, I will be going for recipes of some of my favourite Tapas & Pintxos that I have had in Madrid & the Basque Region. Starting of course with

You Need
The pulled roasted meat of 1/2 chicken, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 button mushrooms, finely chopped
2 oyster mushrooms, finely chopped
1 spring fresh Thyme
90 g butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup home-made chicken broth
4 slices bacon (any meat type you prefer), chopped
Salt & Balck pepper to taste
for the crumb coat
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
50g home-made breadcrumbs (you can go for gluten-free crumbs)

Vegetable oil for deep frying (Yup, its fine we can still have fried foods every now and again)

Cook the chopped bacon and onion in the sizzling butter over medium heat, until onion is translucent but not browned. Add the spring of thyme and chopped mushrooms and cook over low heat stirring frequently until the mushrooms are softened and cooked through. Add the chopped pulled chicken and stir to mix, and leave to sizzle for 5 minutes. Remove the thyme, then sprinkle with the flour and mix to coat, then remove from heat.

Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Continuing to stir, add the chicken broth and stir until smooth. Return the mixture to the heat, cook stirring until boiled and thickened. Season with salt and balck pepper to taste and refrigerate for an hour before rolling.

Once ready, roll 1 tbsp of the mixture at a time into a croquette (elongated) or a ball shape. Roll each croquette into the flour, then into the the beaten eggs then into the breadcrumbs. Line the coated croquettes on a baking tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes before frying.

Right before serving, deep fry the croquetas until golden. Drain well on paper towels, then transfer to a serving bowl or tray.

Serve with Garlic Aioli (home-made garlic-infused mayonnaise) and enjoy :)

Come back soon for my favourite Tapas: Albondigas!

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