Cleveland Cooks: Maple Bacon Croquetas

Croqueta dough (Source: WOIO)
Croqueta dough (Source: WOIO)
Frying croquetas (Source: WOIO)
Frying croquetas (Source: WOIO)
Jen and Nuria making croquetas. (Source: WOIO)
Jen and Nuria making croquetas. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Croquetas de Jamón are the most recognizable variety of croqueta in the world.

Jamón, Spain's iconic salty-funky-sweet cured ham, is the reason this variety of croqueta is so popular.

As with all croquetas, the taste of the finished product depends heavily on the quality of the ingredients that are used. For this Americanized version of Croquetas de Jamón the key is to buy really high-quality bacon so that the finished béchamel is salty, smoky, and slightly sweet (if that's your thing). In this version, we use Maple Bacon from Ohio City Provisions – it really sets the flavors apart.

Ingredients

Ingredient                            Amount

maple bacon, minced           1.2 lbs.

bacon fat, reserved               ½ cups

garlic, minced                        3 Tbsp.

red onion, minced                 1.5 cups

all-purpose flour                     1 cup

whole milk                              3 cups

salt & pepper                          To taste

eggs, free-range                          4

breadcrumbs, panko                6 cups

Makes 50-60 croquetas, depending on the size of the croqueta

Pocess – the Bechamel

  • Add bacon to a medium to large non-stick saucepan over medium heat
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes or until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, not burnt
  • Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel covered plate
  • Retain ½ cup of the bacon fat in the pan, discard or save the rest
  • Turn heat to medium-low
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
  • Add the onion and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently – do not brown the onions, cook until soft, translucent and sweet
  • Begin adding the flour, little-by-little, stirring with a whisk
  • Once incorporated, the ‘batter’ should be clumpy and dry
  • Turn heat to medium-high and begin adding the milk while whisking continuously
  • Cook for 5 minutes - the batter should begin to form a smooth, white béchamel
  • Add bacon, salt and pepper to taste (taste and adjust seasoning as desired)
  • Cook for 5 minutes
  • Transfer béchamel into a 8” x 12” baking dish

Let rest to room temperature, cover and transfer to freezer for up to 30 days

Process – forming the Croquetas

  • Remove the baking dish from the freezer to thaw while you prep your stations – you want the batter to be cold enough to form/mold without making a mess
  • Station 1: add 1 cup of flour to a shallow plate
  • Station 2: crack and whisk eggs in a bowl
  • Station 3: add panko breadcrumbs to a shallow plate
  • Using a spoon and your hands, form béchamel into a 1” x 2” shape (or whatever size you prefer)
  • Roll the croqueta in the flour (station 1)
  • Transfer the croqueta to the beaten eggs and coat (station 2)
  • Using a fork, transfer croqueta to the panko and coat (station 3)
  • Transfer breaded croquetas to a shallow baking dish and cover
  • Place in the freezer for storage up to 30 days or the refrigerator for use within 5 days

Process – frying the Croquetas

  • Depending on allergies or preferences, any frying oil can be used. When pan-frying, olive oil is the best for croquetas
  • Frozen croquetas need to be deep-fried at 340ºF for 3 minutes
  • Refrigerated croquetas can be deep-fried at 340 ºF for 2-3 minutes or pan-fried on medium heat until golden brown

Let croquetas rest before eating – they will be HOT