I grew up eating chicken croquettes and loving them. Who wouldn’t. Chicken, creamy, crunchy, salty with gravy. They used to serve these at HoJo’s, you know, Howard Johnsons. Growing up outside of Philadelphia I have a lot of food memories of foods no longer cooked in many houses. Ho Jo’s sold them and also the famous restaurant in Philly, The Dining Car . Their croquettes were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fierri. However the ones I most remember were in a box from Weavers found in the freezer section of the grocery store. It even came with a container of gravy.
Now when you look at my Gluten and Dairy Free Chicken Croquettes, and you’re familiar with this dish, you’ll notice mine are not shaped in the traditional cone or round shape. When making croquettes they are usually deep fried in oil. I didn’t want to do this so I backed some and pan fried a few. The ones I put in the pan I flattened out but the ones I put into the oven I left round. I baked them at 425 degrees and I think I should have raised the temperature. By the time they crisped up they had started to ooze out and flatten. Not very pretty, but still really tasty. I think these can be done in the oven, just at higher temperatures.
Now one more part that is a must when serving chicken croquettes is the chicken gravy, so I’ll give you that recipe too or else you’ll have naked croquettes. They were also always served with creamy dairy free mashed potatoes . Here I made smashed potatoes  which means I don’t peel the potatoes and I use a masher instead of a ricer.
Chicken Croquette Ingredients:
2 cups almond milk or your favorite
2 cups organic chicken stock (gluten free- I uses Kitchen Basics)
2-3 stalks organic celery stalks, minced
1/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance soy free)
1 TB fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Sea Salt to taste, if using boxed stock check taste before you add as these usually have lots of salt
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
4 cooked organic chicken breasts-skinless and boneless, shreded in a food processor by pulsing.
Crunchy Coating Ingredients:
4 organic eggs
4 cups almond milk or your favorite type
1/4 tsp sea salt
6 cups gluten free flour
6 cups gluten free bread crumbs (I used Glutino)
coconut oil for frying
Chicken Gravy Ingredients:
6 TB butter (I used Earth Balance soy free)
4 cups warm chicken stock (I used homemade stock)
6 TB gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
First thing we want to work on is getting the croquettes mixed together. Then we’ll shape them, coat them, crunch them and then fry or bake them. Then we’ll work on the gravy. You can check the recipes for the mashed and smashed potatoes shared above or use your favorite. I like serving these with fresh green beans but you pick your favorite green veggie.
First we need to heat up the chicken stock and milk. You can do this in a pan on the stove or in the microwave. Mix in the salt, pepper and parsley and set aside. In a large heavy pot melt the butter on medium high heat and add in the minced celery. Let this soften up for about 3 or 4 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 3 more minutes. Make sure you keep this stirring and moving around so it doesn’t burn. It’s important to cook your flour before making this sauce that holds these croquettes together. What you just made is called a roux. Pour in the hot liquid a little at a time and keep stirring with the whisk until it’s all been incorporated and you should now have a nice thick sauce. Now mix in the chicken and combine well. Set aside to cool.
Making them crunch! When the mix has cooled use a scooper or if you have one of those cool cone shaped scoops to make the croquettes in the traditional shape. Lay them out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Now we’re going to send them through the first layer of outer covering. Coat them in the liquid mixture (beat the eggs with the milk and add the salt) and then dip them into the flour. Put them back onto the sheet. Once you have them all done start with the first one again and dip it back into the egg/milk mixture and then into the crunchy bread crumbs. This double dipping is a trick I picked up from The Dining Car. Once you have them double coated with the crunchy breadcrumbs, it’s time to cook them.
You can either fry them in oil in either a deep frying pan or regular sided with not much oil, or put them in the oven drizzled with oil at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Warning however, when you cook them in the oven they may start to flatten out. Won’t look as pretty but still taste amazing.
While they are cooking make the gravy. Once again you’ll make a roux by melting the butter and mixing in the flour. Cook it for around 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add in the warm chicken stock, salt and pepper and keep whisking. This will not be a thick heavy gravy but a little lighter. You can always make it thicker if you like but keeping it a little thin will help it coat the chicken croquettes and mashed potatoes.
This recipe will make 24-36 croquettes depending on the size. I’m not sure if it will make enough gravy for all of those since I’m not sure how much you like on top of your chicken croquettes and mashed potatoes. If you run out it doesn’t take long to make more gravy.
You can use whatever cooked chicken you have on hand, it doesn’t have to be breasts.
If you want to do this without eggs just skip that part and only use milk.
The breadcrumbs I used are made with corn so if you can’t have corn use another type of gluten free breadcrumbs. There are many out there and you can also make your own with the heals of bread loaves.
You can cut this recipe in half but I figure if you’re going to go through the effort, make it count for many meals. I froze most of this recipe so I can enjoy these chicken croquettes on one of those nights when I don’t feel like cooking and I really want one of those comfort meals.
I’d love to hear your chicken croquette memories and where in the country did you eat them? Is this a Philly thing or were these popular all over the country?