Thursday, December 02, 2010

Croquetas/Croquettes (in patty form)

As I’ve mentioned before, I wage a continuous battle against food waste. Now more than ever, with my new goal to Simplify, and with it endeavor for more meaning and less cost, this battle becomes even more important. Waste not, want not, as has often been said. And so true that. Less waste means more savings, extra cash to spend on a much loved pleasure, less junk clogging our landfills and waterways…and it can also mean a delicious treat if you know your way around leftovers!

One of my mom’s favorite ways to give new life to leftovers was to turn them into croquetas (also known as croquettes). Everything from leftover mince to smoked milkfish (yes, that’s tinapang bangus!) would find their way into my mom’s croquetas. As children, we loved these little breaded logs of soft potatoes and tasty bits of meat. We couldn’t care less if they were leftovers. They were delicious and that’s all our young minds needed to know.

Just as you can’t predict what and how much leftovers you will find yourself with on any given day, I don’t have an exact recipe for these croquetas (just as I don’t have one for this cottage pie). Simply put, this is what I do: I take whatever leftovers I have, whether it’s fish, mince, pork chops, longanisa (a local sausage) leftover from breakfast, or even vegetables (roasted vegetables would be awesome in this), and I shred/chop it to smallish bits. Then, depending on how much meat/veggies I have I take a couple, or more, potatoes and boil until soft, then mash. For these croquetas pictured I actually used leftover mashed potatoes (extra points for more leftovers used!). I then season the mixture with salt and pepper. You can add any other seasoning you’d like -- have you got some extra herbs lying around that need using? Chop them up and add them in! Add cumin and chili for a Mexican flavor, or soy sauce, sesame oil, and cilantro for something more oriental. Some cheese would also be delicious if this fits the combination of flavors you’ve got going so far (think chorizo, smoked paprika, and cheese…MMM!). Then add an egg and mix well. I just eyeball the mixture to see whether I add one or two eggs…but mostly one egg is good enough, leftovers usually not being all that much to begin with. I add all the seasoning before the egg so I can taste it before I add the raw egg. Now, shape your croquetas into logs or patties or balls (or anything your heart desires) and coat each in breadcrumbs. I personally prefer patties as I feel they cook better (and quicker) that way. Shallow fry in hot oil until golden on all sides.

You can serve this with a salad and it makes a wonderful meal. It’s also great tucked into a bun for a picnic or a packed lunch. You can serve them with a dipping sauce of your choice – some garlic yogurt, sriracha, or even that old staple…ketchup!

Now that I have a child of my own, I often think of what food traditions and values I’d like to pass on to her. Definitely my love for real, home cooked meals. My respect for food and where it comes from and who brings it to us. My wariness of junk food. An appreciation for true quality…which does not necessarily equate to what is more expensive. My love for vegetables. The belief that something lovingly crafted in your own kitchen will always be better than something bought in a store. Dark chocolate over candy bars. Eating with your hands…ok, this she is already loving :)

Part of these things that I’d like to impart on little C is the avoidance of food waste. And that means no fussing about eating leftovers! For my part, I’ll promise to make them as tempting as possible :)


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love croquettes! A childhood food that I still enjoy as an adukt. Those look lovely.



Christine @ CookTheStory said...

These sound fantastic! I've been working on using leftovers in the style of potato pancakes (shredded raw potato) and they've been turning out o.k. but the leftover mashed potatoes would be much better! Thanks for the idea!

Junglefrog said...

I love croquettes or kroketten as we call them. Here in the netherlands they are usually meat based type of terrible things filled with ragout but you can make so much more out of them!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Your mums idea of using up leftovers into these croquettes is such a great idea.

Mom-Friday said...

Super great! Why didn't i think of this?! Thank you for sharing this croquettes "food recycle" recipe!

Tengo un horno y sé cómo usarlo said...

Lovely description of it. I do myself "croquetas" the Spanish way. Instead of potato, we put the leftovers into a thick bechamel sauce, let them cool enough until you have a paste you can use to form balls, cover with flour, then whisked egg, then breadcrumbs and fry in hot olive oil. (the best part is that you can do a lot of them, freeze and just fry for dinner) It is also delicious!.
Hugs from Spain.

betty said...

i love croquettes! nom nom

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rosa! A childhood favorite in my household as well :)

Hi Christine! You're welcome! It's a great way to use leftover :)

Hi Junglefrog! I've have some nice kroketten in the Netherlands though, with some mustard :)

Hi Brittany! It is really such a simple and efficient, not to mention delicious, way of making quite work of those leftovers!

Hi Mom-Friday! Hope this helps you with your own leftovers!

Hello Tengo un Horno! I actually love Spanish croquetas…I’m just too lazy to make a béchamel! ;)

Hi Betty! They are indeed a loveable food ;)

Anonymous said...

hmmm croquettes! me likey.
Know what else me likey? That tableforthree did a piece on you! Finally, a face behind the breakfasts...

BTW. I have to agree, Twister fries season bring out the hoarder in my as well.

much love,

Maria @ Scandi Foodie said...

They look wonderful! Croquettes are delicious, I usually make the Japanese version :-)

redmenace said...

I love croquettes, but I never make them. These looks sooo homey and delicious!

Midge said...

I agree with you that dark chocolate is definitely better than candy bars and croquetas are an amazing comfort food. :)

(And speaking of dark chocolate, I finally did that molten babycakes recipe!)

Skip to Malou said...

what a great way to re-create leftovers... i should remember to make croquettes when faced with left-overs to replace my never-ending drama of omelettes... haha!
thanks for the idea!

Lee said...

I love croquettes but I have not tried making it yet. I have tried making potato pancakes out of a packet of expired instant mashed potatoes... family loved it and no one got sick.
Excellent photos as usual Joey

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kaye! Glad you like the piece at Table For Three :) Twister fries is my guilty fast food addiction!

Hi Maria! A Japanese version sounds wonderful! What do you put in it?

Hi Redmenace! They are very easy to whip up and really a great way to use leftovers :)

Hi Midge! Molten Babycakes!! Lead the way!

Hi Malou! My never-ending drama for leftovers is fried rice! So I too have to remind myself to make these croquettes now and again :)

Hi Lee! Thank you! Well, as long as no one got sick, and everyone loved it, then I would say it was a success ;)

Trissa said...

Hi Jo! Thanks for the very versatile recipe. Being only two in my house (usually) - I find that we are constantly strugging with too much food. This is a great way to disguise it! My Mom would love you for this!

Tv Food and Drink said...

TREMENDOUS... and so simple. I often only cook for myself or one other, and find that I have extra potatoes all the time. And leftovers are something I'm racing to devour seven days a week, so this is perfect. Thanks for sharing! - Gary

Joanie said...

For some reason I miss your mondrian style blog background. But your new one is cute though. I like the croquette style u did. :-)

Nisrine | Dinners and Dreams said...

Fantastic croquettes! I've always loved these.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Trissa! Hope this helps revitalize some leftovers on your side of the world :)

Hi Gary! What a little potato can do huh? ;)

Hi Joanie! Thanks :)

Hi Nisrine! Thank you!

Petra (Zoom Yummy) said...

Yum, yum, these look beyond delicious! :) Petra

ChichaJo said...

Hi Petra! Thanks :)