This dish may look fussy and fancy, but really it is some plain good eating. I wanted a unique way to use up some leftover turkey and an extra sweet potato that I had lying around. After the first bite with a good dash of cayenne, I knew that I would not be waiting for turkey leftovers to make this again.
I like to use a red-skinned sweet potato. Once roasted, the extra sweetness of this variety comes out even more. I put it through the ricer to get rid of any fibrous strands and then measure out one cup for the recipe. If there are any leftovers, use it to make a bigger batch. The croquettes can be made just before frying and frozen for up to one month in advance-- perfect for the upcoming holidays. The original recipe made small croquettes, but I made these for dinner, so I wanted something a bit more substantial. I doubled the recipe to yield 24 golf ball-size croquettes.
The salsa makes a nice use out of the seasonal cranberry. I like mine processed to a fine consistency, but make yours as chunky or as puréed as you like. Garnished with a few chopped chives for an extra savory flavor and a good dash of cayenne per each crispy fried ball of goodness-- these have made our holiday rotation for sure!
Turkey and Sweet Potato Croquettes with Cranberry Apple Salsa
makes 24 croquettes
For the Croquettes
1 medium red skinned sweet potato (to yield 1 cup roasted and mashed)
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour, plus an additional 1 cup for dredging
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
4 cups finely chopped cooked turkey
1 extra large egg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 extra large eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
For the Salsa
2 cups whole cranberries, picked over and rinsed
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
3 green onions, white and pale green parts chopped
Kosher salt to taste
Chopped fresh chives
Additional cayenne pepper
For the Croquettes
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the sweet potato on the foil and bake, uncovered, until soft and syrup is oozing, about 45-60 minutes. Set the potato aside to cool until it is cool to the touch. Once cool, peel the potato and press it through a ricer. Measure 1 cup of mashed sweet potato and transfer to a large bowl, reserving any remaining for another use.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Pour in the milk and stock, stirring until a thick paste forms. Continue to cook the paste for another 3 minutes. Add the onion/flour mixture and turkey to the sweet potato; stir to combine. Add the egg and cayenne pepper; stir to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and chill the mixture until it is firm, about 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, place the 1 cup flour into a shallow bowl or pie plate. In a separate shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together the eggs and water. Place the bread crumbs and Panko in a third shallow bowl or pie plate. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop (about 2 level tablespoons), scoop and roll the turkey mixture into balls. First, dredge them into the flour, shaking off excess. Then, coat them in the egg wash, letting excess drip off. Finally, dredge them through the crumb mixture, thoroughly coating. Transfer the prepared balls to a parchment or wax lined baking sheet. (The balls can be made up to this point 1 month in advance wrapped well and frozen. Thaw for one hour before frying.)
For the Salsa
Place the cranberries, apple, lemon juice, honey, maple syrup, mustards, and green onions in the bowl of a food processor. Process to reach desired consistency. Season to taste with kosher salt. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; cover and refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to blend. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 365º F. Fry the croquettes in batches until they are golden brown, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the croquettes to a paper towel to drain. Keep the croquettes warm in the oven while the remaining croquettes are fried. When ready to serve, place a spoonful of the salsa onto a plate. Place a few croquettes on top of the salsa and garnish with chopped fresh chives and more cayenne. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Epicurious.com