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Croquetas de Jamon (Ham Croquettes)

Croquetas de Jamon (Ham Croquettes)! These Cuban party staples feature a creamy ham filling and crisp breaded exterior. Truly addictive!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chilling Time:3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Cuban
Servings: 45 croquetas de jamon
Author: The Kitchen Prep

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 8 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk warmed for 30 seconds in microwave
  • cups ground ham ham steaks or deli ham
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt or salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • canola or vegetable oil for frying enough to fill pan to about 1.5 inches

Instructions

  • 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.)

Notes

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.