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Ham & cheese croquetas

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only
These tasty, deep-fried bites can be made ahead and frozen, perfect for no-fuss entertaining as part of a party buffet spread

  • Prep: 20 mins
    Cook: 1 hrs 25 mins
    plus 4 hrs 30 mins chilling
  • Makes 24
  • More effort
  • Makes 24
  • More effort
  • Calories 141
  • Carbohydrates 13
  • Saturated Fat 3
  • Sugar 6
  • Protein 4
  • Fat 8
  • Fibre 1
  • Salt 0.3

Nutrition per serving

  • Calories 141
  • Carbohydrates 13
  • Saturated Fat 3
  • Sugar 6
  • Protein 4
  • Fat 8
  • Fibre 1
  • Salt 0.3

Ingredients

  • 25g butter
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 50g plain flour
  • 250ml milk
  • 140g sliced smoked ham, diced
  • 50g mature cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 50g Gruyère, finely grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g plain flour
  • 140g fine dried breadcrumbs
  • sunflower oil, for deep frying
  • 300g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped (deseeded if you don't like it too hot)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 100ml red wine vinegar

Tip

To freeze
Open-freeze the cooled, cooked croquetas until solid. Transfer to a freezer-proof container, interleaving with baking parchment. Cover and freeae for up to 1 month. Freeze the tomato chilli jam in a small freezer bag. To serve, thaw the tomato chilli jam overnight in the fridge, or at room temperature for about 1 hr, and stir well before serving. Reheat the croquetas on a baking tray lined with baking parchment in a preheated oven at 200C, 180C fan/gas 6 for 8 mins.

Method

  1. To make the croquetas, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and gently fry the onion for 3 mins or until lightly coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 secs. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, and cook over a low heat for 5 mins until thick and glossy. Stir in the ham, cheese, mustard and cream, and season to taste. Cook for 1 min more until the cheese melts, stirring constantly.

  2. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming. Leave to cool, then chill for 4 hrs or overnight - the mixture needs to be very stiff to form the croquetas. Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and, with wet hands, roll into 24 small oval shapes and put on a tray. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl, put the flour on a plate and half of the breadcrumbs in a bowl.

  3. Roll each of the croquetas lightly in flour, then in egg before coating in breadcrumbs. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Use the remaining breadcrumbs to top up the bowl halfway through the coating process. Chill for 30 mins (or to freeze, see tip, below left).

  4. Meanwhile, make the tomato chilli jam. Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover loosely with a lit and cook for 50 mins - 1 hr, stirring occasionally, until thick and glossy. Leave to cool before serving.

  5. Fill a large saucepan one-third full with the sunflower oil and heat to 180C (or heat the oil in an electric deep-fat fryer). Do not overheat and do not leave hot oil unattended. Using a metal slotted spoon, lower 6 croquets into the oil and cook for 1.5 mins or until golden brown. Transfer to a baking tray lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil, and continue cooking the rest. Serve with the chilli jam for dipping.

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