Diner Delights at Home

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Chicken croquettes = diner food, agree? After today’s 1948 Old Food Cooking lab–inspired by a booklet from Planter’s Peanut Oil– I’m bringing them off the interstate. From now on these croquettes will be my new go-to recipe for leftover chicken or turkey. The results bettered any croquette I’ve consumed in a diner locally, and that’s saying somethin’ considering I live in a diner hotspot in south central PA. That’s all I order whenever I eat out at Esther’s or Kumm Esse or Risser’s or Midway Diner.  They normally arrive on a plate with chicken gravy and filling/stuffing and perhaps a small dish of the vegetable special. I didn’t whip up all the sides for my lunch today, and I was wondering if I’d miss the gravy. But, no, not so much. This batch had a savory, creamy filling with a  uber-crunchy crust. In fact, these croquettes lived up to the French word  croqu, “to crunch,” which is how they got their name.  And for you deep-fry skeptics let me assure you. These were not a bit greasy.  The crust felt like sandpaper  seconds after emerging from the hot oil, and the paper towels I used to absorb grease  got only a light workout.

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I can’t say that the croquettes were a quick meal to pull together. There were several steps that I spread out over two days. Because I didn’t have any leftover meat, I roasted two, bone-in chicken breast halves. After they cooled and I removed the meat from the bones, I minced the chicken and measured out two cups.

spycroque 028Later on I needed to make a simple white sauce to bind the meat and seasonings and then allow it to chill and set. The following day I shaped and fried the croquettes, which actually took less than five minutes. Quick service, just like the diner actually.  Here’s the entire recipe:

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Chicken Croquettes

2 tablespoons Planters Peanut Oil

2 teaspoons onion, minced

4 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup milk

2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, minced

1 teaspoon parsley, minced

Finely ground dry bread crumbs

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk or water

Deep hot Planters Peanut Oil

  Heat Planters Peanut Oil, add minced onion and fry until lightly browned. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk gradually and cook stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Then add chicken and parsley.  Chill thoroughly (I spread the mixture in a pie plate and placed it in the refrigerator to chill).chickencro 001

   Form into croquettes. Roll in crumbs, then in beaten egg combined with the water and again in the crumbs.  (I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the chilled mixture before breading and shaping the croquettes.

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  Fry in deep Planters Peanut Oil (370 degrees) until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Recipe yield: 6-8; I made mine smaller and had 10. These made a quick, delicious hot lunch. For a dinner entree, next time I’ll make a simple gravy from the roast chicken breasts and serve as an optional topping, just like at Esther’s. Mashed potatoes or stuffing plus a side veggie will round out the meal.

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