Today’s recipe is another from this month’s feature cookbook by The Cook Book Guru, The Book of Household Management by Mrs Isabella Beeton.
The recipe is actually called ‘fowl and rice croquettes’ in the book but I didn’t want to scare you all off with such a title, especially when Debi from My Kitchen Witch advised:
The 1907 edition significantly added an Edwardian genteel flourish for the upwardly mobile, dressing up what was once plain cooking, and included the affectation of French names for the recipes.
In that case, let’s call these lovely little croquettes: Croquettes De Poulet.
We really enjoyed the croquettes. There is no strong flavour to them – they are just nice comfort food. Anyone who objects to strong spicy food would love these. Everyone else would find them satisfyingly pleasant. They would be a great addition to a platter at a cocktail party, taken on a picnic or served with some mayonnaise as an entree.
I had to adjust the amount of stock and rice used in the recipe and, as I didn’t have any “remains of a cold roast fowl”, I substituted one boneless chicken breast. Otherwise, I stuck pretty close to the original recipe.
Here is my take on it.
- one boneless chicken breast
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 30g butter
- 2 tsp plain flour
- 100 mls chicken stock
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- pinch of mace or nutmeg
- 6 tbs* cream
- ½ tsp finely grated lemon peel
- 1 tbs* lemon juice
- salt, to taste
- 2 cups medium or short grain rice
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 tbs* of butter
- 1 or 2 eggs, for coating
- bread crumbs, for coating
- oil for deep frying
*These are 15 mil tablespoons
To make the filling:
- Steam the chicken breast in a little water until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
- Boil two eggs, set aside to cool.
- Once cool, mince chicken breast and eggs in food processor or mincer and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. When melted, add the flour and cook until hot and bubbly.
- Slowly add the chicken stock and cook until sauce has thickened, stirring all the while.
- Add the cream and then all remaining ingredients.
- Set aside to cool.
To make the coating:
I thought long and hard about what rice I would use. In the end, I decided that the most likely rice around in the mid-nineteenth century would have been a medium grain rice. The only medium grain rice readily available here is sushi rice so sushi rice it was. Arborio rice would also work well, probably better, really. Don’t use a long grain rice like Basmati which is not at all sticky. The next issues were how much rice and how much stock. I decided on two cups of rice (and I still had filling left over). I followed the packet instructions for cooking the rice using the absorption method.
- Rinse the rice several times in water (If using Arborio rice, skip this step).
- Add the rice and stock to a heavy based saucepan.
- Bring to the boil then lower the heat.
- Cover pan and simmer, very gently, for 20 minutes.
- Do not remove lid for 5 minutes after rice has cooked. Set aside to cool.
- Form the croquettes.
Making the croquettes was easy with our Coxinhas maker. I just spooned some rice into the cavity then pressed down with the stopper to make the hole for the filling. To make the lid, I spooned some rice on top and gave it a press with the other side of the stopper.
It is a great little toy if you make croquettes or similar food regularly. If making croquettes by hand, take a golf ball size of rice and hollow it out. Fill hollow with filling and then enclose hole with rice. If the rice is really sticky, you may need to oil your hands.
- Dip croquettes in beaten egg and then in bread crumbs.
- Deep fry croquettes until golden brown.
We made 33 croquettes and have filling left over. At that rate, if you use three cups of rice and 4½ cups of stock you would use all the filling and make about 48 croquettes. Although, it is not that simple. With one cup of rice, I made 19 and Maus made 14 croquettes. Also, if you make the croquettes by hand, you would probably use more rice.