Croquetas de Jamon (Ham Croquettes)

13 ounces                    Smoked ham (about 3 cups ground)
 8 tablespoons              Butter
 1 cup                         Finely chopped onion
 1 cup                         Flour
 2 cups                       Whole milk
 ¼ teaspoon                Grated nutmeg
 1 tablespoon               Finely minced parsley (dried is fine)
 1 teaspoon                 Worcestershire sauce
 1 tablespoon               Lime juice
 ½ teaspoon                Wright’s Liquid Smoke (optional)
 ½ cup                        Flour
 3                               Eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
 2 cups                        Panko breadcrumbs
 2 cups                        Peanut oil
                                  Lime, cut into wedges, or juice to drizzle

  1. Finely grind ham in a food processor. Place in large mixing bowl.
  2. Sauté onion in ¼ of the butter until softened. Place cooked onion mixture in food processor.
  3. Add remaining butter to saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted add flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add milk whisking vigorously to avoid any lumps. Cook 2 to 3 minutes to cook off raw flour taste. Add some of the cooked sauce to the onions in food processor. Process until smooth.
  4. Add pureed onion mixture and all of the white sauce to bowl with ham. Add nutmeg, parsley, Worcestershire, lime juice and liquid smoke. Mix thoroughly until a uniform paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Place ham mixture in a hotel pans or sheet pans and spread flat. Cover with plastic and place in refrigerator overnight.
  6. Prepare 3 dishes for breading - 1 for flour, 1 for egg and 1 for breadcrumbs.
  7. Take 1 tablespoon of cold ham mixture and shape into thick finger like shape. Coat each croquette in flour, shaking to remove excess. Roll in egg wash on all sides, allow excess to drip off. Coat with breadcrumbs on all sides pushing crumbs into egg mixture to adhere. Allow to sit in refrigerator at least 1 hour before frying to set breading.
  8. Heat oil to 350˚F in skillet. Pan-fry croquettes approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  9. Serve warm with lime wedges.

Makes about 30 croquettes.

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