Soft and crunchy ham cheese croquettes
These classic French style ham and cheese croquettes are made with a thick bechamel sauce which is then flavoured with two types of cheese and some free range country ham. Once done, the croquettes are shaped by hand, pane a l’anglaise and deep fried. For the full Escoffier experience the croquettes are served on a plate with a side of deep fried parsley which works really well.
For the Bechamel
- 75 grams butter (for the roux)
- 75 grams flour (for the roux)
- 500 ml full cream (whole) milk
- 50 ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 1 small twig of thyme
- A small bay leaf
- Half an onion with one clove
- 2 mushrooms quartered
- Salt and pepper
For the Flavouring
- I used 100 grams comte cheese and 30 grams cheddar cheese
- 2 slices of free range leg ham
To bread the Croquettes
- 50 grams of flour
- 2 whole eggs beaten
- 100 grams bread crumbs (I used Japanese style panko)
750 ml sunflower or grapeseed oil
For the Garnish
- 1 or 2 handfuls of deep fried parsley
This is a thick version of the bechamel sauce only used for this type of recipe. The deep fried parsley is meant to be sprinkled around the croquettes and used as a side to dip the croquettes in. Use fresh green parsley for the best results. If you wonder why the parsley is deep fried it is simply that you don’t serve fresh herbs with a deep fried item. The rule is always deep fried with deep fried. For deep fried parsley use curly leaf parsley, not flat leaf. To deep fry just throw a small handful of parsley at a time in the oil. Be careful because the oil has a brief foamy reaction due to the water contained in the parsley so don’t put too much in at a time.
Making the Bechamel
- Melt butter on a low to medium heat.
- Add flour, mix in and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
- With the heat off, pour milk into a saucepan and add bayleaf, thyme, cloved onion, quartered mushrooms and pepper and salt, turn heat on to medium and bring milk slowly to the boil.
- Whilst milk is heating, grate cheese and cut the ham (it can be shredded in a food processor).
- When boiled, pour some milk into the cold roux through a sieve and whisk to incorporate, and it is, add the remaining milk and whisk in. Then bring the heat back on (to medium) and bring the bechamel to the boil.
- Once boiling, add the cream and gently whisk in.
- On a very low heat stir in the grated cheese in stages, fully incorporating the cheese each time before adding more.
- Turn off the heat, and if a cheese croquette is desired, cool the mix by spreading on a tray.
- If a ham and cheese croquette is also desired, blend the ham into half of the cheese mixture, and similarly cool by spreading on a tray.
- Spread a cling wrap over the top of the mixtures to prevent a crust forming and place the tray into a refrigerator so the mix will solidify. (May take up to 20minutes)
To Form and Cook the Croquettes
- Using clean hands mould the croquettes into roughly equal size and roll in a tray of flour until fully covered.
- Also using clean hands, coat the croquettes with egg and then fully coat with breadcrumbs.
- Each croquette should then be deep fried in the oil at a temperature of 180C (350F) until the colour is golden – roughly one minute. Preferably the croquettes should be cooked individually and treated gently so they don’t fracture.
- Eat hot served with deep fried parsley.
ham cheese croquettes video tutorial: