Although crisp and creamy croquettes are made throughout much of Spain, cooks in Rioja's wine country are unique in using boiled or Serrano ham mixed with leftovers like roasted chicken.
Be sure to let the chicken-and-ham mixture chill completely before forming it into croquettes so they will keep their shape when fried.
Plus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups minced roasted chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped Serrano ham or prosciutto (2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving
How to Make It
In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the chicken, ham, nutmeg and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the flour, then gradually whisk in 3/4 cup of the milk. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scrape the croquette mixture into a bowl; let cool. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
Divide the croquette mixture into 16 equal portions. Using wet hands, roll the portions into oval croquettes.
Preheat the oven to 325°. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Spread the bread crumbs and some flour in 2 more shallow bowls. Dredge each croquette first in the flour, then dip in the egg; coat the croquettes with bread crumbs and transfer to a platter.
In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Fry 4 croquettes at a time, turning twice, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the croquettes to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying the rest. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.
The croquette recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
The delicate chicken here suggests a rich but not too assertive Rioja white.
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