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Homemade chicken croquettes are worthy of a special occasion—and since it's Rach's sister Maria's favorite, Rach is pulling out all the stops, complete with gravy and green beans with caramelized shallots.
"This is one of my sister's favorite meals from childhood. My mom would serve these with gravy and cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam on the side and creamy mashed potatoes. You can take a shortcut here and use a rotisserie chicken, but look for a heavier one and make sure it's plump and moist. Roast chicken will produce a little drier croquette, but it eliminates two hours of time." –Rach
Maria's the baker of the family, so she covered dessert: Floating Island, which is a sweet custard sauce topped with crisp and airy meringue. And John, of course, was in charge of cocktails and mixed up Thyme Vodka Gimlets.
For the Poached Chicken, remove skin and bones from chicken and finely chop meat. Place in bowl and cover.
Make poached chicken or use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut (see Rach's note above).
For the gravy, melt butter, add pepper, whisk in flour 1 minute. Whisk in bone broth or stock, bring to a bubble to let thicken to coat a spoon evenly then reduce heat to low to add cream, lemon, parsley and Dijon. Add salt to taste and cover to keep warm off flame.
For the croquettes, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, add onion, celery, garlic, salt and pepper and cook to soften a few minutes. Add 1 cup water and raise heat a bit and let it absorb and evaporate fully to shorten time to soften the mixture. Add flour and combine, whisk in broth and when the liquid bubbles, add a ladle of it to the yolks to temper them, then add the yolks to the sauce and whisk in cream and ½ cup breadcrumbs. Remove from heat, add in cayenne or mustard, let cool. To chicken, add 3 tablespoons parsley, thyme and lemon zest, combine and cool completely. Mix cooled sauce into chicken and herbs. Dip your hands in a little water to roll the croquettes. Score the mixture into 16 portions: Quarter the mixture and from each section, score 4 portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then form a shape of choice—we make cones or pyramid-shaped croquettes. Arrange on a wire rack-lined tray and continue or refrigerate until ready to cook.
To bread and fry the croquettes, combine the fine breadcrumbs with panko, cheese, dried herbs, zest and nutmeg in a shallow bowl. Beat the egg whites and water together in another shallow bowl. Coat the croquettes in egg whites, then breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a fry pot or countertop fryer and keep it between 325˚F to 350˚F, allowing oil to recover after each batch. Fry the croquettes 4 to 5 minutes in batches of 4, drain on wire rack-lined baking sheet or platter lined with paper towels. Top with hot gravy and remaining parsley and serve with Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots.
(For the green beans, when you are ready to serve, reheat over medium heat and toss with tongs to heat the beans through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.)