En español: Croquetas de Jamón Serrano
This easy croquetas de jamón Serrano recipe proves that the true trick to Spanish ham croquettes is time, patience, and a great arm for stirring the bechamel sauce!
Is There Any Cheese
Contrary to popular opinion, Spanish ham croquetas do not contain any cheese! They are an essential part of any self-respecting tapas spread basically because they taste so good!
So, are they filled with a ham and potato mixture or ham and cheese?
The answer: Neither.
Croquetas dough is a chilled bechemel sauce with bits of ham, usually, either serrano or Iberico added. Croquetas originated as poor mans food made from simple commonly available and cheap ingredients so they would through in whatever bits of cured ham they had.
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Authentic Ham Croquetas
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter 60 g
- ▢ ¼ cup olive oil 60 ml
- ▢ 1 scant cup flour just under one cup — 120 g
- ▢ 1 medium onion very finely diced
- ▢ ¼ gallon whole milk at room temperature 1 liter
- ▢ 1 pinch nutmeg
- ▢ ½ pound jamón serrano diced into small pieces 225 g
- ▢ flour for breading
- ▢ 2 beaten eggs
- ▢ bread crumbs for breading try Panko for non-traditional extra crispy croquettes!
- Melt the butter and warm the oil in a heavy pan over medium high heat.
- Add the diced onion and sauté for a few minutes, until it just starts to color.
- Add a pinch of salt and the nutmeg. Don’t add too much salt as the Serrano ham is already salty.
- Add the diced ham and sauté for 30 seconds more.
- Add the flour and stir continuously, until the flour turns a light brown color. You must not stop stirring or the flour will burn!
- When the flour changes color, add the milk little by little, always stirring until you incorporate the entire amount. It should take about 15-20 minutes to add it all.
- Turn off the heat and let the dough cool to room temperature.
- Butter the sides of a large bowl and place the croquette dough inside, covered directly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- To make the ham croquettes, shape them into little logs (or use a pastry sleeve if you have one.)
- Next, while heating a pan full of olive oil on the stove, pass the croquettes through the three step breading process. First, cover them in flour, then in egg, and, finally, in the breadcrumbs.
- Fry the ham croquettes in the hot oil for about five minutes (making sure to turn halfway so they brown evenly) and then let them cool for a few minutes before enjoying!
Croquetas can contain any kind of filling really. Iberico ham seems to be the most common but spinach and mushroom also taste really good.
For those of you, that really must have ham AND cheese then here is an alternative recipe using a different technique. Not really much quicker as the 4-hour chilling time is the same but still very tasty.
Ham and Cheese Croquetas
- 75 g butter
- 100 g flour
- 500 ml whole milk
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 90 g ham
- 50 g cheddar
- 50 g mozzarella
- 2 tbsp parsley
- for rolling
- 1 egg
- Melt 75g butter in a pan and whisk in 100g plain flour. Over a gentle heat, gradually whisk in 500ml milk until you have a very thick white sauce. Add 50g fresh breadcrumbs, 90g chopped ham, 50g grated cheddar, 50g torn mozzarella and 2 tbsp chopped parsley and stir until melted. Chill for 4 hours.
- Scoop up spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into 18-20 oval shapes. Roll each first in plain flour, then coat in beaten egg, then roll in dried natural breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden.
Try one of these recipes from my cookbook …
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