So, Thanksgiving is over and the Festival of Leftovers has begun. I'm actually a little short on turkey at the moment, because a houseful of family and friends pretty much wiped out my 23-pound bird - which came out awesome, by the way, thanks for asking.
When I was a kid, my grandmother - Grandma Billie - always made turkey croquettes from leftover turkey on the day after Thanksgiving. I decided to dig out her recipe and honor tradition by making croquettes myself on Friday.
Actually, the recipe I'm going to share with you is my adaptation of her version. Grandma Billie was a great cook, but her croquettes were a little bland. Also, I like to crumb fried stuff with panko for extra crispiness, and she just used to use dry bread crumbs.
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup turkey or chicken broth
a handful of chopped parsley
1 small onion, grated, include the juice from grating
½ teaspoon Bell's poultry seasoning (or other poultry seasoning)
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups cooked turkey, ground
2 eggs, beaten with milk to make an egg wash
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then blend in the flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for a few minutes, then add the milk and broth and whisk over medium heat occasionally as the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Stir in the parsley, onion, and seasonings and turn off the heat under the pan when the gravy thickens up. Set the gravy aside to cool.
Meanwhile, run leftover turkey through your food chopper to make 4 cups of ground cooked turkey. Mix up light meat and dark for best flavor.
In a large bowl, fold the gravy into the turkey and mix well, like you would a batter. When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, refrigerate the mixture until it is well chilled. This is important, because the croquettes will fall apart in the pan if they are not well chilled before being fried.
Wet your hands and form the croquette mixture into small cylinders. (I know cone shapes are traditional, but really, cylinders are so much easier to work with.) Roll each cylinder in panko crumbs, then swirl it around in the egg wash and finally, roll around in the panko again. Fry the croquettes in shallow oil, turning frequently to brown evenly, until crispy golden-brown. Drain on paper, and serve with turkey gravy.
After making the croquettes, I have even more admiration for Grandma Billie than the considerable amount I had before. Those little bastards are a lot of work. I think they take even more effort than making the turkey to begin with.