Saturday, December 12, 2015

CHICKEN CROQUETTES WITH CREAMED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

It's been a very long time since I've written a blog.  I've just been using Facebook to post foodie items.  I'll go ahead and admit that it is the lazy way to get something accomplished that I want to share.  But it's limiting when I feel like writing a lot about what's going on.

Ever since my last relationship ended I have found much solace in cooking and just messing around with food.  Having friends over for experimental dishes, cooking every night even if I don't want to eat.  Cooking is my therapy. 

Last Thursday night I put up a pot of chicken soup using legs and thighs.  I find them to be the most perfect pieces for making soup.  They have the most flavor and the meat left on the bones is best used in whatever manner you like! Chicken on the bone makes a very good for you broth full of mineral nutrients, not to mention the comfort of having a warm bowl of soup. Last time I made Chicken Salad with dried cranberries, celery and toasted pecans.  It was delicious!  That was chicken cooked in a very traditional chicken  soup with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  This night I was making a favorite chicken soup recipe, Chinese Chicken and Corn  Soup with Ginger and Egg drop.  The recipe can be found at  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/sweet-corn-and-chicken-soup-recipe.html

Tonight, the chicken that I removed from the bones was puzzling me.  I was bored with the same old thing. What could I make from it this time?  I didn't want to put into the soup.  I wanted the soup to remain brothy.  So all of a sudden I had a thought of the old days when Chicken Croquettes used to be very popular.  They were typically served with creamed peas.  Well I didn't have any peas, but I had two bags of frozen  Brussels Sprouts.  So I made creamed Brussels Sprouts. 

The Chicken Croquettes:
about 2 cups of finely chopped cooked chicken
1 egg
1 T corn starch
1 T chives (or 2 t. finely chopped onions)
Salt-pepper to taste.

Mix this all up until it's nice and smooth and can be formed into croquettes.  Go through the normal breading procedure:  Roll in flour, roll in beaten egg, roll in bread crumbs. 

Add about 1  or two cups of oil to a small saucepan, enough to cover the croquettes when they are added to the hot oil.  Heat the oil to about 350 - 375 degrees.  Test the oil by dropping a few breadcrumbs into the oil.  If the immediately bubble up and foam, the oil is hot enough. 

Add three or four of the croquettes to hot oil and fry until a nice deep brown.  Remember the chicken is already cooked so the only goal here is to get these nice and brown and crispy.  Remove to a paper towel and cook the rest of them.

The cream sauce is a simple B├ęchamel Sauce.  a 3 - 3 - 3 ratio of fat to flour to liquid. 

3 T butter or oil
3T flour
3 C warm milk (non fat milk, whole milk, canned milk  or even add some cream)
1 tsp. salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and let it cook for a few minutes.  You have to cook the flour to get the pasty taste out of it.

Once it is foamy and bubbly, add the warm liquid.  Cold liquid will end up causing a lumpy white sauce.  Keep stirring with a whisk until it is nice and smooth and creamy.  If it's too thick, add a little more milk.  Add the salt to taste.  Now is the time to add any other flavor you might want.  Add a little chicken base, some dry herbs if you like or just leave it alone.  Once the sauce is nice and smooth, add the Brussels sprouts and let them warm through in the sauce.

Serve them with a little sauce drizzled over the Chicken Croquettes.

I was really hungry, only my second, and last, meal of the day.  So I indulged in two croquettes!! They were delicious and very satisfying!

After nearly 5 months of dealing with a breakup, I've finally risen out of the depths of my cooking therapy, and now I'm cooking with joy again!  I've met a very nice man who is a flower farmer on the Eastern Shore.  Can you imagine!  I love flower gardening and I meet a flower farmer!  He has already given me some wonderful plants - 5 kinds of peonies that I have already planted and hope to see blooming in the spring!!  So we'll see if we can get to know each other a little better.  He has one particularly good quality - he loves to eat good food!!!