Northside SF
La vita delizioso
Authentic New England Turkey Croquettes
You will find recipes all over the Internet for “easy chicken croquettes,” but the only way to make real croquettes is to follow all the steps. It’s time-consuming, but the end result is well worth it. After Thanksgiving or Christmas, I like to use leftover turkey, which works just as well as chicken. I double the recipe and freeze half. You can make the white sauce to pour over the croquettes just before serving. I include English peas and steamed potatoes as side dishes, just like my mom did.

Authentic New England Turkey Croquettes
Serves 4
Double or triple the recipe if you want extra croquettes to freeze. Chop the meat in a food processor for a great time saver. This is one of the few recipes where I don’t use Italian flat-leaf parsley – the milder curly variety is traditional for croquettes.
White Sauce (recipe below)
4 cups ground or finely chopped cooked turkey (or chicken)
½ cup fresh curly parsley
½ small onion (optional)
Dried breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Mix white sauce with chicken or turkey, parsley and onion to form a paste-like consistency. Spread on a large platter, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Once cooled, chill for several hours in the refrigerator.

Note: Chilling is extremely important. You can use the freezer to speed up the process.

Shape the chilled mixture into croquettes by rolling into cylinders. Coat in breadcrumbs. Chill again for several hours.

Dip croquettes in beaten egg and then again in breadcrumbs. Chill once again for several hours.

Remove from refrigerator and fry the croquettes in vegetable oil, turning once until brown (about 3 to 4 minutes).

White Sauce
Makes 1 cup
Double or triple the recipe for extra sauce to pour over the croquettes and potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoons salt
1 dash pepper
1 dash paprika
½ cup half-and-half
In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter; stir in flour and seasonings and cook until smooth. Gradually stir in half-and-half. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and all lumps are removed. Allow the sauce to cool completely.

For some reason, people think making fresh turkey stock is a complicated, all-day affair, but it can be made in just over an hour.

Don’t be afraid to add good quality, low-sodium canned or boxed organic stock for additional flavor depth. Trader Joe’s makes an excellent boxed turkey stock, but chicken stock works just as well. (Use approximately a 4-to-1 water-to-stock ratio.) Also, don’t add salt to your stock – the canned or boxed stock will provide a small amount, and you want the turkey essence to shine through. When you use the stock later in a recipe, salt to taste then.

Finally, add a liberal amount of fresh or dried herbs. I grow sage, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and thyme in my garden, which I use to make a bouquet garni – a bundle of herbs in cheesecloth tied together with twine. If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried. The cheesecloth allows the herbs to infuse the stock while keeping them contained (you don’t want “floaty bits” for any clear broth or stock).

The differences between stock and broth are small, but essentially stock is made with more bones and broth is made with more meat. Boiling bones produces more gelatins, creating a silkier, richer final product.

While turkey stock is not as versatile as chicken stock, it’s great for making soups. Classic turkey noodle with wide ribbons of pasta, carrots and celery is one of my all-time favorites. I like to use yolk-free noodles because they have zero cholesterol (versus regular egg noodles, which contain nearly 20 percent of your daily cholesterol in one serving). Two good brands are Manischewitz and No Yolks.

I also love to make my mother’s ceci bean or cannellini bean soups. For these recipes, you can soak dried beans overnight or use thoroughly rinsed canned beans. Cook carrots and celery in a pot of stock until tender, add the beans, top with fresh spinach or kale, cover, and cook an additional 5 minutes for spinach; 10 minutes for kale. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

NOTE: if using dried beans, cook until tender before adding to the pot of stock.

Turkey Stock
2 cans or ½ box of good
quality organic turkey or chicken stock
4 large carrots, cut into 3-inch chunks
3 large stalks celery, cut into 3-inch chunks
2 medium or one large onion, cut into quarters
1 bouquet garni (see above)
1 bay leaf
Turkey carcass, neck and giblets (excluding liver)
In a heavy 8- to 12-quart stockpot or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, put all ingredients except the carcass, neck and giblets. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil on high heat. Add carcass, neck and giblets. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, skimming the scum as needed.

Pour stock through fine mesh strainer into large storage container (or several smaller containers if you plan to freeze some). Discard (or preferably compost) solids. Cover and refrigerate several hours.

Once stock has cooled, use a skimmer to remove layer of fat from top. Save fat for making schmaltz (rendered fat), which you can use just like butter in cooking (and it’s actually better for you, with 31 percent saturated fat versus 66 percent for butter)
Susan Dyer Reynolds can be reached by email at

March 2012
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