This one…was challenging. And it seemed so simple! 4-30: Cheese-Stuffed Potato Croquettes are essentially mozzarella sticks with a mashed potato/panko coating. These turned from a quick snack into a multi-day attempt.
Now, before I scare you off this recipe: it was 100% my fault it went south. I tried to improvise in several places, and it proved to be my downfall each time. Sometimes you can take liberties, and sometimes you can’t.
Here’s how you learn those lessons.
I don’t think my mom would have attempted this one–she wasn’t much for home frying.
Ingredients. I think using pepper jack cheese sticks in place of cutting my own mozzarella might have been a mistake–I’m not sure if the quick melting of the cheese is due to using that kind of cheese or just leaving it out too long while prepping.
Peeled the potatoes. Easiest thing to do is to put a paper towel down in an empty sink and peel your potatoes over that. Then you can just pick up the towel and toss the whole thing wherever you dispose of potato peels. DON’T let the peels go down the disposal unless you want a visit from the plumber in your near future.
Essentially the same process as making mashed potatoes. Peel, slice, boil, drain, mash.
I love you, $1 IKEA potato masher.
Use the yolk for the potatoes, and your whites to roll the sticks in before you coat them in breadcrumbs. I used panko, but you can use other kinds of crumbs if you have a preference.
Rolling the sticks in the mashed potato coating. I cut the sticks in half, which was close to the size indicated by the recipe. I added an extra stick though, since they called for 3 oz. and each prepackaged stick is 1 oz.
Here’s where I start to run into a bit of trouble: the potato coating is starting to stick to the board. I get them together, but it’s starting to get difficult. The kitchen is REALLY hot at this point: I’ve been cooking all day, and I just pulled a roasted chicken out of the oven for dinner.
At this point, I should have put the croquettes in the fridge, let them firm up, and fried them later in clean, new oil.
Here’s what I did instead.
I usually keep the schmaltz (chicken fat) for cooking–-some recipes (like my great-grandmother’s chopped chicken liver) call for it specifically, and store-bought just isn’t as good. HOWEVER, I had these croquettes that needed to be fried, and wouldn’t they be super tasty if I fried them in chicken fat?
The answer is no, because they’ll look good for the first 30 seconds or so, and then just completely start to break down.
I panicked, and quickly threw some oil into a saucepot (to avoid splatters) and started heating it as quickly as I could. I thought I could possibly take them out of the chicken fat, put them in the clean oil, and save them.
OH GOD NOW IT’S GETTING WORSE WHAT’S HAPPENING ABORT ABORT ABORT ?
Yeah, so I just…stopped at that point. I still had 4 others, so I wrapped those on a plate, stuck them in the fridge, and slunk off to eat my chicken.
TWO DAYS LATER…
Okay remaining croquettes, it’s GOING to work this time. To start, I set up new dipping stations.
Looking good so far. Used new, clean oil and a sauté pan. Could have used a bit more oil, but I didn’t want to waste it if they were going to fall apart again.
Getting a nice crust on the outside, but there’s still no good way to fry those ends.
Finished product–finally. I served these few survivors with some jarred marinara from the fridge, which ended up being somewhat useless. They don’t hold together that well even when they’re fried, so I’d approach these with caution, unless you’re a master potato/cheese stick engineer.