Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Adventures in leftovers - Paleo Chicken Croquettes

I roasted a whole chicken and the hubby and I ate the breasts and wings with all the yummy crispy skin, which left us the leg quarters as leftovers. Now, I'm always stymied when it comes to leftover dark meat. I like chicken legs when they're still hot, but when you use them for leftovers in the old standards (chicken salad, fajitas, soup) they have a texture I find unappealing. I was flipping through some old cookbooks and I found a recipe for cooked chicken called chicken croquettes, which are basically meatballs made with cooked chicken meat. Perfect for my texture problems! The only problem is that traditional croquettes are held together with bechemal sauce (flour, butter, and milk/cream) and bread crumbs, and the outsides are usually breaded as well. I was undeterred and decided to come up with a paleo version. Now, I've never had a real croquette so I don't know how my version compares to the "real" one, but I thought these were pretty darn tasty. I spiced mine up with some Southwestern seasonings, but these are unnecessary to the overall dish.

Paleo Chicken Croquettes

Start these a few hours or the day before you want to eat as the mixture needs to chill in the fridge. Makes approximately 12 croquettes.

2 leftover chicken leg quarters, skinned and meat torn off the bones (save the bones for soup stock!)
1/2 a small onion
1/2 - 1 cup of mushrooms
2 T mayonnaise (I think really thick coconut milk would probably work as well...you know, the solid stuff that sits on top of the liquid in the can)
1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo, minced
1/2 - 1 tsp adobo seasoning (basically a mixture of salt, garlic powder, and cumin)
1 egg
olive oil

Pulse the onion and mushroom in a food processor until very finely chopped. These are standing in for your bread crumbs. Heat up a little olive oil in a skillet and gently saute the mushroom/onion mixture until it is cooked through and starting to brown.

Meanwhile, put the cooked chicken meat in the food processor and pulse until it starts to kind of look like bread crumbs. Add the mayonnaise, chipotle pepper, adobo seasoning, and egg and pulse to combine. Add the cooked onion/mushroom mixture and pulse to combine again. Scoop the chicken mixture into a container with a lid and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

When the time comes for cooking, heat some olive oil up in a skillet. Using two spoons, scoop up the chicken mixture and shape it into quenelles. Don't know what I'm talking about? Here's a link that explains how to make a quenelle: http://www.chefspencil.com/recipes/NDUy/QuenellesHowTo.aspx Why do I do it this way? Well, three reasons. The first one is that I don't have to get my hands dirty. The second is that it looks really nice. And the third is that it makes it very easy to brown the meatballs evenly on three sides. Anyway, just brown your croquettes/quenelles on all three sides and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

These look pretty darn good. I amm fine with dark meat leftovers but i think I will do this anyway for the heck of it!

The Sog

Flowerdew Onehundred said...

OMG! Can I come to your house? I always wind up scarfing down the dark meat quarters from roast chicken, and I'm stuck with the white meat! It usually becomes very meaty chicken soup. Match made in heaven!

The croquettes look tasty, but since I hate mushrooms, I'd probably use nuts for that part.

Elizabeth said...

SOG - Thanks!

Flowerdew - I don't particularly care for mushrooms either, but you can't taste them in this at all. I do the same thing with meatloaf and the mushrooms just kind of disappear into the meat and somehow give it the same texture that bread crumbs do. It's a mystery of science, lol.

Unknown said...

I've made these several times - very satisfying! I add a little almond flour in place of the mushrooms, and roll them in a little almond flour before I fry them. I'm having them tonight!