Croquetas de puerro or leek croquettes are fritters made with béchamel sauce seasoned with chopped ingredients, leek in this case, that are then coated in egg, breadcrumbs and deep-fried. They’re normally oval in shape although you can find them round too.
It’s not the first recipe for croquettes we’ve published, but we can’t help ourselves. Croquetas are one of our favorite tapas and we make them with an infinite number of ingredients. The first recipe we published was for croquettes with cured ham, followed by Cabrales cheese croquettes and now we are preparing them with leek and spices.
The taste of these croquettes is amazing, mild and slightly sweet. If we add a touch of nutmeg and black pepper, we almost get a bite that I wouldn’t know whether to define as starter or dessert. Delicious.
Remember that the success of good croquettes always lies in making béchamel with patience and love. In this post we remind you of what you must take into account to make sure the process is correct. Besides showing you how to shape them.
Remember that for most Spaniards there is nothing in the world more wonderful than enjoying a good creamy croquette. Not dense, not dry, not too runny… Creamy and smooth. Repeat this in your head while you cook the béchamel. It will be helpful during the 60-70 minutes that you will be stirring it 😉
- 4,2oz (120g) bread flour
- 2oz (60g) unsalted butter
- 2oz (60g) olive oil
- 5,3oz (150g) ham and vegetable homemade broth
- 2 pounds (900g) whole milk
- 2 large leeks
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2-3 large eggs for coating
- Breadcrumbs for coating
- Olive oil
- Trim the stalks of the leek with a knife, without overdoing it and wash well with cold water.
- Cut the leeks in half lengthwise then each half in half again, so that the leek is divided into 4 parts.
- Cut finely and place in a large sieve. Wash again with plenty of cold water to remove any traces of soil.
- Drain well.
- In a large frying pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place over medium heat.
- Add the leek and gently stir-fry until it is almost wilted, but still retains some crunchy texture. We don't want it to get too soft.
- Salt to taste and remove from heat.
- Place the oil and butter in a frying pan over low heat and melt completely.
- Add the flour and stir-fry constantly stirring with a wooden spoon or whisk.
- When the flour has taken on a soft golden color, pour the milk little by little and stir at the same time to prevent lumps from forming.
- Alternate the addition of milk and broth as the batter absorbs the previous one and grows thicker.
- Add the nutmeg, pepper and salt. Keep stirring constantly until the batter becomes thicker and separates from the sides of the pan. The whole making will take at least 50 minutes.
- Add the sautéed leek and mix to distribute evenly.
- Transfer the mixture to a plate or dish, this way the béchamel will cool faster.
- Cover the batter with plastic foil by touching the surface to prevent it from drying and developing a skin.
- Once it has cooled down completely, store it in the refrigerator until the next day for it to firm up.
- Shape the croquettes with a piping bag and a wide round tip (around 2 cm/3/4") or by using two spoons.
- Fill a large bowl or dish with breadcrumbs and another dish with the beaten egg; place them side by side.
- Make croquette-size portions with the mix and coat them first in the breadcrumbs.
- Then cover the croquettes in the beaten egg and again in the breadcrumbs.
- Let them dry for a while at room temperature and uncovered to allow the exterior to harden.
- Heat a frying pan with enough oil to deep-fry the croquettes.
- Once the oil reaches 340ºF/175º, fry the croquettes in batches. Turn them upside down from time to time to help them to brown evenly.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to remove excess fat.
Tips for the most amazing croquetas de puerro:
- All-purpose flour can be used instead of bread flour, it is a matter of personal taste. We think that the result is better with the latter.
- The flour must be thoroughly fried in the fat to get rid of the flour raw flavor. Taking it to a soft golden brown color is enough.
- Depending on the variety and filling of the croquettes, part of the milk can be subtituted for a broth made with chicken, ham or vegetables. It enhances the flavor.
- After frying the flour, we recommend to pour the liquid ingredients little by little, always stirring at the same time, to help the flour paste to dissolve in the liquid and avoid any lumps.
- Do not cook the béchamel sauce over a high heat, it is better to do it on medium low heat so that the liquid evaporates little by little and allows us to integrate everything more easily.
- If any lumps form you can always use a blender to mix them.
- Be very patient. Béchamel is slow to make because a dense consistency needs to be achieved, so that the batter pulls away from the walls of the frying pan. Do not stop cooking too soon, otherwise the béchamel will be too runny and difficult to handle.
- The croquettes paste must always be formed while cold for them to be easily manipulated.
- The coating can be breadcrumbs-egg-breadcrumbs or just egg-breadcrumbs. This is completely to your liking, though the former makes for a slightly firmer coating that tends to be easier to fry.
- Do not exceed the specified oil temperature for frying. Think that the croquetas are in fact already cooked, they only need to brown on the outside to achieve a crunchy texture.
- Croquetas freeze very well after coating and before frying, in a zip bag for 1 month. They can be fried unthawed.
These croquetas de puerro or leek croquettes are really amazing and different from others we are used to eating. Its sweet taste makes them perfect to combine with a white wine or a vermouth. Cheers!