Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kroketten (croquettes)

I'm visiting my friend Ted (yes, she's a girl!)in the Netherlands and she made Kroketten (a dutch word for croquette) for lunch today. It's a VERY typical Dutch snack treat or for lunch. People rarely make them at home anymore, they are usually bought at a snack bar with fries, or at the supermarket, frozen, to be cooked at home. I have had them here in Holland at snack bars and liked them, but Ted's were even better! Some just eat them with their hands, but Ted eats them on a piece of bread or roll, smashes the kroketten with her fork a bit, spreading it around and then putting mustard on it. (Sorry-photo is a bit washed out)
This is their mustard--what a clever idea! In a tube. It's a bit thicker than our standard yellow mustard.

600 grams cooked meat (roughly 1.33 pounds)
To make the roux:
1 onion, finely chopped
60 gram butter (about 2 oz)
60 gram flour (about 2 oz.)
1/2 liter bouillion (1.75 cups)
pepper, salt, nutmeg to taste
a dash of maggi (a seasoned salt)
For the breading:
toasted breadcrumbs

Prepare in advance: Chop the meat very finely. Make a roux(see below) with butter, flour and bouillion, but start with sauteing the onion. When the sauce is ready, add meat and spices. Let the ragout (the beef mixture) cool completely in the refrigerator.
To prepare: Keep the ragout in the refrigerator until just before making the croquette. Use your hands to form sticks (about 4 x 1.25 inches). For the breading: take three soup plates, put flour in one, beaten eggs in the second and bread crumbs in the third plate. One by one, cover the croquette with flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. Make sure to cover them completely or they will leek out when you fry them. Return the croquettes to the refrigerator for thirty minutes. Heat oil to 355 degrees. Fry the croquettes to a golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
The basics of making a roux: A roux is very easy to make. Just remember one thing: butter and flour have to be equal amounts in weight. What you make depends on how much liquid you add. If you make a soup, use thirty to fifty gram butter/flour for one litre, for making a sauce use forty to fifty gram butter/flour for a half litre, for a really thick sauce (like for kroketten), use sixty gram butter/flour for half a litre.Start with melting the butter. Depending on whether you want your roux blond or brun, keep the butter light or heat a little longer. A blond roux works best for soups and most simple sauces: Add all flour at once. Stir with a wooden spoon or a whisk until it has blended with the butter to a paste. Keep stirring on a low fire for a few minutes, without letting the paste colour. Now you start adding the liquid that can be either hot or cold. Begin with adding a very small amount of liquid (one tablespoon). As soon as it hits the paste, the paste will become crumbly and turn dough-like. No panic, keep stirring until it is smooth again. Then add a little more liquid, stir until smooth again, more liquid, stir, stir, liquid, stir, stir, stir. The more liquid as already been absorbed, the more you can add in one go. But wait each time until the liquid has been completely absorbed, and the sauce is smooth again and has bubbled.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Killer White Chili

This soup is the bomb! It has a nice bite to it and full of beans and fiber! It makes a fairly large size batch, but it only lasts us through dinner and I get a bowl for lunch. But then, my hubby loves soup, especially those with a kick to it. And it is the EASIEST soup to make! It's nice to have all the ingredients on hand so when you get in a time pinch, it's ready in likity split!

Killer White Chili

48 oz. jar Great Northern Beans

16 oz. salsa (get the amount of 'heat' that you like)

12 oz. beer (and no, it does not taste like beer, and you can get just one bottle at the store)

1 large can chicken

1/2 can chicken broth

12 oz. Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, cut into small chunks so they'll melt easy

Dump all the ingredients into a pan over medium heat and stir on occasion until cheese melts.

My hubby likes to put crushed tortilla chips or fritos on top.