[Recipe 2] DUTCH VEAL CROQUETTES
A couple of weeks ago, on the road to Bendigo for my mum’s 70th birthday with a car-load of fellow Dutch folks, we passed a hand-painted sign on the side of the Calder highway and a collective shriek rang out in the car: ‘DUTCH KROKETS $5’.
I skidded to a halt and we just about bolted inside. Jos and Coby Jansen, the proprietors of the tiny Junction Hotel (built in 1874) in Ravenswood, have a menu of house-made Dutch specialities including poffertjes (tiny pancakes), uitsmijters (soft bread, ham and a fried egg) and Krokets.
Dutch veal croquettes (Hollandse kalfs kroketten) are one of my favourite Dutch fast-food treats. My dad often cranked up the deep fryer to make a batch for lunch. There are food vans all over Holland selling the ubiquitous Broodje Kroket – a soft white roll stuffed with French mustard and a crunchy deep-fried log, containing the most delicious molten, creamy, meaty filling. In Amsterdam krokets can be bought warm from little vending machines, nestled individually on squares of kitchen paper.
Coby from the Junction Hotel was lovely enough to share her kroket recipe with me; which I’ve modified slightly to make for a more chunky, meaty filling. Also, instead of making them from scratch, I first made a beautiful (even if I do say so myself) Veal Osso Buco, which we scoffed for dinner with a mound of creamy parmesan mashed potatoes. The addition of orange zest to the Osso Buco intensifies the flavour and cuts through the richness, alleviating the need for a zesty accompaniment like gremolata.
By saving a couple of chunks of the Osso Buco, (see the ♦ orange diamonds in the recipe for details); you can whip up a batch of Dutch veal croquettes easily. Oh my gawd they’re so good. The only tricky bit is the double-breading but this is important for the crisp-factor, and also to ensure they don’t split open during cooking.
Eet smakelijk iedereen (eat well everyone)!
Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
1½ kilos (3 lb) humanely-farmed veal shanks, osso buco-style (cut into thick 2½ cm/1-inch slices)
3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
2 brown onions, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped into small pieces
2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
75g (2½ oz) bacon, fat removed, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup (250ml) red wine
400g (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1½ cups (375ml) beef stock
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste (tomato concentrate)
Salt and freshly-cracked pepper
Creamy parmesan mashed potatoes, to serve
Chopped flat-leaf parsley to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Place veal shank pieces and flour in a large plastic bag. Toss to coat, and shake off excess flour.
Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook veal in batches (adding a splash more oil when required) for 3 minutes each side until well-browned. Transfer to a plate.
Add onion, carrot, celery and bacon to the pot, and 1 tablespoon more oil if required. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. Stir occasionally. Add garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes, uncovered, stirring regularly. Return veal to the pot. Add wine, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Transfer vegetables, veal and juices to a large oven-proof, flame-proof pot.
Combine tomatoes, stock, orange zest, oregano and tomato paste. Pour over veal and vegetables. Season.
Cover tightly with foil (or a lid, with foil underneath) and cook in pre-heated oven for 1½ hours. Test to see whether veal is tender. If not, return to the oven for a further 15 minutes and check again. The meat should be falling off the bones.
If there is a bit too much liquid, place pan on the stove-top and simmer, uncovered, for a further ten minutes.
♦ Reserve 2–3 cooked veal pieces for the Dutch veal croquettes. You’ll need about 1½ cups/350g (¾ lb) of actual meat, so roughly break it away from the bones and plonk it in a cup (or weigh it) to make sure you reserve enough!
Serve osso buco on a bed of creamy parmesan mashed potatoes, scattered with parsley.
- Osso Buco can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be used within three days; or it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Leftover pan juices from stews like this can be blended and turned into a lovely rich soup for lunch. Add a bit of leftover shredded meat and vegie chunks after blending.
- When using store-bought stock, I love Moredough Kitchens variety (available from independent food stores, delis and butchers all over Australia). It’s real stock, sealed in a pouch, with nothing yucky added. Definitely worth the expense. The veal stock is fab. And no, they didn’t pay me for my testimonial! I find supermarket chicken stock is mostly fine (I prefer Campbells), but supermarket beef stock is too overpowering and caramel-ish in a dish like osso buco. Moredough stock has a more subtle, home-made flavour.
[Recipe 2] Dutch veal croquettes (Hollandse kalfs kroketten)
Ingredients (serves 4, makes 12 croquettes):
60 grams (2 oz/½ stick) butter
½ cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 eschalot (shallot/scallion), finely chopped
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock, store-bought or home-made
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 sachet (10g/3 teaspoons) powdered gelatin*
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
♦ 2–4 pieces reserved veal osso buco, finely chopped (about 1½ cups/350g/¾ lb)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep-frying
French mustard, to serve
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour extra, for dusting (plus extra if required)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
Make a roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Gently stir fry the eschalot until soft. Gradually stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until a paste forms.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the stock. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring thoroughly, until the sauce is smooth and thick.
Add gelatin, nutmeg and mustard to the saucepan, stirring.
♦ Add reserved, chopped Veal Osso Buco.
Season, and stir through parsley. Mix together thoroughly then transfer to a container with a lid and allow to cool completely, in the fridge.
Roll about 12 little sausage-shaped logs from the mixture, each about 3½cm (1½-inch) thick and about 7½cm (3-inch) long.
Double-coat the croquettes. Dredge each croquette in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into egg and coat well with the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate the croquettes for at least 15 minutes to help the coating adhere. Repeat the entire coating process so that each croquette gets two coats of flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
Deep-fry the croquettes in two batches at 180°C (350ºF) for approximately 3 minutes, until golden brown. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test whether the oil is ready by dropping a few breadcrumb lumps in the pot. They should sizzle as soon as they hit the oil.
Drain croquettes on kitchen paper and serve immediately, slathered with French mustard.
- Dutch veal croquettes can be frozen, uncooked. Deep-fry from frozen for 4 minutes.
- Croquettes are best eaten immediately. They don’t stand up to re-heating in the oven as they lose their beautiful crispiness. Believe me, I’ve tried!
- Croquettes are excellent for a party. Double the quantity and make bite-sized croquette balls (‘bitterballen’ in Dutch). Deep-fry for 2–3 minutes, and serve on toothpicks with French mustard.
- I’ve used powdered gelatin as it’s more readily available (and it removes the temptation for me to visit the Essential Ingredient where I always manage to empty my wallet). I reckon it’s worth using gelatin leaves when making delicate desserts like panna cotta, but for rustic croquettes, powdered gelatine is absolutely fine. If you insist on using gelatin leaves though, 1 sachet (8g/3 teaspoons) powdered gelatin is roughly equivalent to four gelatin leaves.