Better than Mom’s apple pie

Mom’s Beef Croquettes

Filling:
8 cups roast beef, cooked and diced
4 cups binding béchamel sauce
salt
pepper
spring onion
lemon juice
2-3 cups ritz cracker crumbs or bread crumbs

2-3 whipped eggs

* Béchamel—binding
1 cup milk
3 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup flour
1 carrot slice
1 onion slice
1-2 bay leaves
2 cloves
4-5 peppercorns
1 mace
1 egg

* Ratio: 2 cups meat to 1 cup sauce

Let milk stand for at least one hour with veggies and spices, then bring to a short simmer, strain and keep over low heat.

Melt butter with flour and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes until smooth. Remove from heat, pour about 1/4 cup milk in, stirring vigorously, then continue to add rest of milk while stirring. Replace over medium heat and stir while cooking until sauce thickens. Season to taste, add the egg and mix very well. Cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Croquettes: Season roast beef with salt, pepper, spring onion and lemon to taste. Mix in béchamel sauce and chill overnight.

Take a generous spoonful and use hands to form an oversized egg-shaped, cylindrical croquette. Roll croquette in crumbs, then egg, then crumbs. Chill overnight before cooking or freeze.

Deep fry in peanut oil at 350° until golden brown. If croquettes are frozen, thaw partially, not entirely before cooking—about 2-3 hours. Some folks might enjoy a rich, brown gravy spooned over the croquettes; my family preferred drizzling with freshly squeezed lemon juice while piping hot.

Makes 36-48 croquettes; frozen croquettes keep quite well in freezer bags.

I have no idea if this is an “original” American recipe. But this was my, by request, traditional birthday dinner. I always thought I was pretty smart because it meant the family got to have roast beef one night and then beef croquettes made from the left over roast another night. My mother made this dish for me for many years. She’s American, so I figure that makes this an American dish.

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