Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey and Jalapeno Croquettes

29 Nov

My parents always have a second Thanksgiving the weekend after our actual family Thanksgiving to provide themselves some leftovers and the opportunity to make their very favorite dishes exactly how they want them.  Zak and I attended on Sunday and were sent home with some leftovers of our own (including a turkey carcass … helllooooo turkey stock!), and I wanted to find some creative ways to use them up.

Inspired by my success with arancini, I thought I would try something similar with mashed potatoes.  A quick Google search confirmed that this was something that was commonly done and I adapted this recipe very loosely from Paula Deen.  I really loved this as an alternative to another meal of reheated turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  The outside was crispy with just a touch of salty goodness and the inside was creamy, spicy, cheesy, and decadent.  It tasted a bit like a jalapeño popper with the added bonus of some delicious turkey morsels and extra creaminess from the potatoes.

Should you not want to turn the oven on, you can flatten these into patties and I imagine you would be able to skip heating the centers in the oven.  I really loved the large portion of creamy mashed potatoes, though, and would stick to the recipe if you think you might feel the same way.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey and Jalapeño Croquettes

Loosely adapted from Paula Deen

Turkey and Jalapeño Croquettes:

2 1/2 cups leftover, chilled mashed potatoes (I didn’t use this recipe, but it would work very well here)

1 jalapeño, finely diced

1 cup leftover turkey, finely chopped (preferably white and dark meat)

1/2 cup very sharp cheddar cheese, grated

4 eggs, beaten, divided

3-4 tbs. all-natural, whole wheat flour (optional)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 1/2 cups Ritz crackers, finely crumbled (about a sleeve, minus a few that may accidentally fall in your mouth)

1/4 cup canola oil

Nonstick cooking spray

Combine mashed potatoes, jalapeño, turkey, cheddar cheese, 1 beaten egg, and kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  If necessary, add a few tablespoons of flour to thicken mixture so texture is easily malleable and stays together when formed (my mashed potatoes were on the less firm side originally so I used about 1-2 tbs. of flour).  Using about 1/4 cup of mashed potato mixture, form tubes roughly 1″ in diameter.  Chill in freezer until set, roughly 30 minutes.

Dip each croquette in remaining beaten eggs, then roll in crushed Ritz crackers.  Repeat.  If croquettes seem loose, chill in freezer or refrigerator until well set.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat canola oil in large, deep skillet.  Working in batches that allows 2-3″ of space around each croquette, fry until golden brown (roughly 3-4 minutes per side).  Place on a tinfoil lined baking sheet or large pie pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Place in oven and bake until heated through, roughly 15-20 minutes.¹

Note:  If you flatten the tubes/logs into patties, this step will be unnecessary.  However, you will also miss on a great deal of fluffy goodness that is the center of these wonderful croquettes.

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