The Croquetas are a symbol of Spanish gastronomy and represents a dish prepared with a speciality of iberian cuisine, like Jamon Serrano. Wa cannot think of going in a Spanish bar without the omnipresent croquetas. Potatoes are really widespread in spanish gastronomy, and in many versions potatoes are included in the mixture, even if the vast majority is made with a bechamel sauce together with a large variety of possible ingredients, everything's fine within a croqueta.
But even if the croquettes, or croquetas, are now a typical spanish dish, historical documents seems to show that the origins of this dish are not in Spain, but in France. The oldest document is from year 1691, where we can find the recipe of a croquette from the Royal chef of Louis XIV. We do not know if the cook draw inspiration from a previous traditional or oral recipe from Spain, but we can see that nowadays the croquetas from Spain are really popular and so they somehow gained success crossing the borders. We can see nowadays different versions in many Countries.
The first historical documents about spanish croquetas is to be found in a year 1867 book titled "El cocinero español y la perfecta cocinera" ( the spanish cook and the perfect lady in the kitchen), published in Malaga. We find this book to be a little bit too late to be realistically the first mention of spanish croquetas, and we are pretty sure that generation after generation, mother to daughter, the authentic & traditional spanish croquetas recipe have been invented many century earlier its formal publication.
If the origin of the recipe may be somehow controversial, the origin of the name is easy to relate to the french word "croquir", that is being crispy. In Italy, the croquetas, or croquettes, arrives through the Bourbon dinasty to Southern Italy, to the Regno delle Due Sicilie, where the croquettes were stolen from the hands of the Monzù (the french chefs of the Bourbon royal court) and transformed the tasty "crocchè", based on a potatoes and egg mixture. Later, in Sicily from the Crocchè were created the famous "arancini". A pretty glorious history isn't it?
Today we will bring you the recipe for a croquetas made up with Jamon Iberico, a dish invented by the spanish chef Alberto Chicote, who personally published his own recipe through Twitter some months ago. We changed a little bit here & there, overall for what concerns the quantities, but at the end the result is almost the same, creamy & super tasty. This is actually the first time I use heavy cream for croquetas, we'll give you many other croquetas recipe in the future.
Let's go with the recipe!
- 670 ml if milk
- 330 ml approx. of heavy cream
- 95 g.of flour (I used half whole-wheat, half normal flour)
- 75 ml of olive oil aprox. (the original recipe uses butter, but I don't)
- 1 big onion
- 100 g. of Jamon Iberico
- Jamon bone (optional, but it will add much more taste to it!)
- Salt (the quantity you want)
- black pepper (to taste)
- A little bit of nutmeg
- For the battering: 2 eggs, flour & breadcrumbs
1º- In a pot, we put the milk and the heavy cream together to warm a little bit. If we have the Jamon bone, put it in the pot now, it will add a lot of flavour. When the liquid starts to boil, we low the heat and keep on cooking it a little bit more.
2º- in an anti-adherent pan we pour a drizzle of oil and we put the heat on medium-low. We cut the onion à là Brunoise, or in thin slices, and we put it to fry a little bit. At this point we will add the salt to speed up the frying. When the onion starts to become transparent, we add the Jamon Serrano we previously cut in small pieces and we stir it all together for a while.
3º- We add the flour and we stir for about 10 minutes, on low heat to cook the flour, and after that we pour into the pan the mixture of the milk and the heavy cream (do not pour you jamon bone, be careful!) and keep stirring in order to avoid the creation of bulks. A little bit of salt & pepper to taste and also a little bit of zested nutmeg too! We will stir for other 10 minutes or so, or until we see the dough well mixed, not sticky and we see all ingredients well incorporated.
5º- We prepare three dishes, and we put flour in the first, beated eggs in the second and breadcrumbs in the last one. We create little balls with the dough of the size we prefer, and we dip the balls first in the flour, then in the beated eggs and then again in the breacrumbs, all in sequence. Fry it in very hot oil.
We can freeze the croquetas we don't eat them right away. To do so, a trick is to put them in a tray each one separated from the others and we put them in the freezer for about an hour, or until they are completely freezed. Then, once freezed, we remove them from the tray and we put them into freeze bags or Tupperwares. In this way they won't stick to each other when they will freeze, and will be easy to get them ready to eat!