Croquetas de Jamon (Ham Croquettes)! These Cuban party staples feature a creamy ham filling and crisp breaded exterior. Truly addictive!
Prep Time30 minutesmins
Cook Time10 minutesmins
Chilling Time:3 hourshrs
Total Time3 hourshrs40 minutesmins
Servings: 45croquetas de jamon
Author: The Kitchen Prep
½cup(1 stick) butter
8teaspoonsall purpose flour
2cupsmilkwarmed for 30 seconds in microwave
2½cupsground hamham steaks or deli ham
3teaspoonsfresh lime juice
1tablespoonfresh parsleyfinely chopped
½teaspoonsaltor salt to taste
2cupfine bread crumbs
canola or vegetable oil for fryingenough to fill pan to about 1.5 inches
Make béchamel: Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat; add in flour, continually whisking until smooth. Cook for about a minute. Gradually pour in heated milk while whisking to avoid lumps. Simmer until the mixture is smooth, creamy and thickened, another 2-3 minutes. It will coat the back of a spoon when thickened sufficiently.
Add ground ham, lime juice, parsley, salt, and pepper to the bechamel; stir to combine. The mixture will come together to form a thick paste. Cook it for 3-5 more minutes until thick. (You may need to turn down the heat to reduce splattering.)
Scoop the mixture into a heat-safe bowl or a shallow dish or pan. Let it cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until chilled.
When the mixture is almost done chilling, set up the breading station -- beaten egg in one shallow dish and breadcrumbs in another. Prepare a baking pan by lining with foil. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Using a tablespoon sized scoop (Iike a spring-loaded scoop for this job), scoop the ham mixture and roll into logs -- about 1 ½ inches long, ¼ inch in diameter. Place them onto the lined baking pan and continue until you've used all of the mixture.
Dip each croquette into beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Set back on lined pan.
Heat about 1½-2 inches of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with paper towels.
When the oil has come to temperature, drop in about 5-6 at a time, turning often, and fry until crisp and golden brown. This will only take about a minute for each ham croquette, so be sure to keep an eye on them and keep them moving. You may want to pull them from the oil a bit early as they continue to cook and darken slightly once removed.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto paper towel-lined pan to drain of excess oil.
If not serving immediately, keep croquettes warm in the oven until ready to serve. (I like placing a cooling rack on top of a pan so that the hot air circulates around the croquetas and keeps them from getting soggy.)
To reheat croquetas: Place the croquetas on a baking pan (or a cooling rack on top of a baking pan for better heat circulation) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 8 to 10 minutes until crisp and heated through.