Potatoes are cheap, abundant and go with almost anything, so most cuisines have a form of croquette. In fact, croquettes originated from a need to get rid of leftover ingredients. You can get good results from premade croquettes, whether you buy them frozen or make them ahead of time, and they only take an extra minute or two to cook -- great for those days you want something hot but don't feel like playing chef. So next time you have some leftover mashed potatoes and ground meat or veggies, roll up some croquettes for a rainy day.
Things You'll Need
- Dutch oven
- Peanut, soybean or sunflower oil
- Candy thermometer or probe thermometer
- Deep-frying basket, slotted spoon or long-handled tongs
- Paper towels
- Shallow baking dish
Fill a Dutch oven with 3 to 4 inches of frying oil. Peanut, soybean and sunflower oil all withstand deep-frying temperature without smoking.
Attach a candy thermometer to the Dutch oven and set the heat to medium-high. Alternatively, heat the oil for about 12 minutes and place a probe thermometer in the center. Adjust the heat as needed so the oil stays about 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the croquettes from the freezer after the oil reaches 375 F. Lower two or three frozen croquettes into the oil gently, using a deep-frying basket, slotted spoon or long-handled tongs.
Fry the croquettes until they're golden brown and float on top of the oil, about five minutes. Roll the croquettes over in the oil halfway through frying if you notice once side getting darker faster than the other.
Remove the croquettes from the oil and place them in a shallow dish lined with a couple layers of paper towels. Blot the croquettes with another paper towel as soon as you set them down. Wait for the oil to return to 375 F before heating more croquettes.
Heat the oven to 425 F. If you have a convection oven, turn on the fan.
Remove the croquettes from the freezer and arrange them in an even layer in a shallow baking dish.
Place the dish on the middle oven rack and bake the croquettes until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't thaw the croquettes before cooking them.
- Dutch ovens hold heat better and more evenly than most pots.
- You can keep used frying oil for up to a month if you strain it through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and store it in an airtight container.
- If you have any doubts if you heated the croquettes all the way through, split one open in the center to see if it's hot and steaming. Alternatively, insert a meat thermometer into the center and ensure it's at least 165 F.
- Breaded food bobs on the surface of oil instead of staying submerged the whole time.
- Deep-frying more than two or three frozen croquettes at once lowers the oil temperature too much.
- Use common sense when you you deep-fry foods. Don't wear shirts with loose, hanging sleeves.
- Never try to put a grease fire out with water. Use a fire extinguisher instead.
- Never fill a cooking vessel more than half full of oil when deep-frying.
- Deep-fry on a rear burner if you have a busy kitchen.
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