A quintessential element of the tapas party, the jamon croquette is a delicately textured but powerfully flavoured nugget of pure delight and surprisingly very accessible and easy to recreate at home. Traditionally using Spanish ham of course though feel free to step outside of the conventional to try something new.
I started off this process by creating melt in the mouth tender ham hocks in the slow cooker. Take 2 ham hocks, a couple of onions, carrots and celery sticks roughly chopped, a bay leaf, some thyme and a few parsley stalks. Top with water or if you wish to add to the seduction some chicken stock and cook on low for 8 hours or overnight. The resulting meat will fall off the bone with loving ease and you are now presented with the joyful culinary pleasure of salty, umami rich cured ham and lashings of deeply flavoured luscious stock for a host of kitchen delights. This is the intense joy of cooking at home, where the mild efforts of one action supplies you with a bonus of an intensely layered liquid that then proceeds to fund the foundations of a delicious soup, creamy risotto or the backbone of a decedent sauce. There are pros and cons of the crockpot but when it works it truly works. For this recipe you can off course be lazy, though I would argue that there is no lazier kitchen action than the slow cooker, and instead opt for a shop bought cured ham like serrano of which there is zero shame.
While there may seem like a multitude of steps and processes, I can try to allay your fears by explaining that you are essentially making a very thick Béchamel with ham, chilling that mixture and then breadcrumbing. So if all you’ve ever done is chill something in the fridge you’re already ahead of the posse in your technical game.
Makes 16 large croquetas
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