Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Recipe Slimdown #1: Chicken Croquettes
The offer always stands to send me your favorite gut-busting recipe and I’ll take a stab at slimming it down. Here are the results of my first official recipe recreation project:
Q: “So, I'm sitting at lunch today and I had an idea for a Diet It Up version of something I ate a lot of as a kid; chicken croquettes. It was a puree of chicken with very distinctive spices, inside a crunchy shell. They used to make them at the German deli and they called them chicken balls. You could also buy them frozen (Banquet, Swanson, or Tyson used to make them)."
A: I’ll be 100% honest. Until this email, I literally had never heard of a chicken croquette. Potato croquettes? Yes. But, chicken? No way. I did some research on the subject and apparently, this was a big time 1950’s diner meal. Basically, ground chicken is mixed with a rich béchamel sauce, formed into balls, breaded and deep fried. These were often served atop a bed of mashed potatoes with thick, creamy white gravy.
Weaver used to sell chicken croquettes in the freezer case at the supermarket. The product has since been taken off the market. My guess is that most people aren’t going to invest 20 grams of fat in one little chicken ball and Weaver decided to pull them. Just my speculation.
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull off a tasty 2010 version of this classic with significantly less calories. I started with the ground chicken and spices. I used some low-fat cream of chicken soup as the base instead of the heavy butter and flour béchamel. Some seasoned breadcrumbs and an egg white helped to bind the croquette together.
I would recommend chilling the mixture for at least an hour before trying to form it into balls. When it was very cold, you could pack the meat together like a meatball. As it warmed up, it was a little harder to get them to hold together. I coated the croquettes in panko and tossed them in the oven, crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t end up with a mess of broken-up chicken slop.
Surprisingly, these CHICKEN CROQUETTES turned out great! The inside is light and fluffy and the breaded crust is crispy without the added oil from frying. I ditched the gravy and served mine with some homemade BBQ SAUCE. The BBQ was the perfect tangy, spicy complement to the chicken. I may not be lucky enough to have tried the original, but my spin on this dish was pretty darn tasty.
* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.