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Turkey Croquettes & Gravy

Related Ingredients
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Tasting Notes

Within the delicate and crispy coating of these turkey croquettes, the pleasantly gamey flavor of gravy-soaked dark meat meets the sweetness of braised vegetables and the spice of aromatic herbs.

Michelle Branch says that her mom isn’t a big fan of adding new dishes to their traditional Thanksgiving table, but she may change her mind when she tries these croquettes – especially once they’re doused with rich, deeply flavorful gravy.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Flavor-power without flour. Since we added flour to the vegetables in the early stages of the braise, we don’t need to add a roux—a mixture of additional flour and fat—as a thickener. By blending some of the cooked vegetables into the gravy instead, we make this full-bodied sauce even tastier.
  2. Sticking together. The natural gelatin from the braising liquid binds the turkey to the cooked vegetables. Once pressed, the mixture can be fried without falling apart.
  3. Texture tips. For a nice contrast of textures, we pull the meat apart first and then add it to the tender vegetables. The crispy coating keeps the inside of the croquettes nice and moist.

Toolbox

These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Pâté Terrine. A glazed earthenware baking dish that is generally rectangular or oval-shaped. A terrine is often used for making pâté, but it’s also the right shape to press the turkey meat.
  2. Tabletop deep-fryer. These small appliances make deep-frying easier and more efficient than the traditional method of adding a few inches of oil to the bottom of a heavy pot.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

Ladle

Strainer over pot

Medium-sized baking sheet

Gloves

Large bowl

Small or medium bowl

Saran wrap

Two large rectangular plastic Tupperware containers (or pâté terrine)

Ice

Small sheet pan

Parchment paper

Three large bowls or casserole dishes

Spoon or metal spatula

Spider or slotted spoon

Large pot (or tabletop deep-fryer)

Sheet pan with rack

Cake tester


Ingredients
  • Braised turkey parts in braising liquid
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Grapeseed oil (enough for 3-inches deep in pot)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups panko bread crumbs

Serves: 8

Total Time: 12 hours

Active Time: 30 minutes

Method
  1. When the turkey legs and browned turkey parts are cool enough to handle, remove them from the braising liquid. Pick the meat off the bone and shred it finely. All of the meat and all of the skin should be used for the croquettes.
  2. Strain the braising liquid through a fine-meshed strainer. Do not press the vegetables. The liquid is now the gravy. Pour gravy liquid into large saucepan for warming later.
  3. Reserve all the vegetables and the gravy. Reserve the herbs and the gravy separately.
  4. In a bowl, mix the shredded leg meat, strained vegetables and 1/2 cup of the gravy. Season with additional salt if necessary.
  5. Line a 6-inch by 10-inch plastic rectangular container with plastic wrap. Spread two thirds (about 3-4 cups depending on the size of the turkey parts) of the mixture out in the bottom of the rectangular container. Reserve remaining turkey mixture for the Panini-Pressed Brioche Stuffing. Cover with plastic wrap and press down on plastic wrap in the center of the meat out to the edges and then press down the edges. Place another container right on top of meat container and press down. Pour ice in top container and pour a little bit of water into ice container to add weight. Place a lid on top of ice water container and place containers in refrigerator for 24 hours.

    Note: the most important thing is to press the meat down evenly into the container to create a layer that is about 1 to 2 inches thick. The size of the container will depend on how much meat your turkey yields. Also, make sure that the second container fits closely into the first one and that you press the meat very firmly with weights. It is essential that the meat is pressed firmly enough in order for the croquette mix to work. This will ensure that your croquettes wont fall apart while breading or frying.
  6. Once the mixture has chilled overnight, remove the weights and gently un-mold the pressed meat. Pull the plastic wrap off and cut the pressed meat in half or into thirds. The pieces should be about 10 x 2 inches. Then wrap each of those pieces tightly in plastic and place in the freezer for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Pull the wrapped meat from the freezer and place on a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, slice 1 inch slices through the plastic. Keep the pieces chilled while you are working.
  8. Once all of the pressed meat has been sliced, remove the plastic and begin the breading process.
  9. Place in the flour one by one and lightly coat making sure to remove excess prior to dipping in egg. Let excess egg drip off then place in the panko. Coat completely in the panko and reform into a rectangle with your hands.
  10. While breading the croquettes, heat 3 inches of grapeseed oil in a heavy bottomed stock-pot or table-top fryer. Use a candy thermometer to determine that the oil has reached the desired temperature of 375°F.
  11. Once all of your croquettes are breaded, fry 3 to 5 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd your pan. Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set on a tray that has been lined with a rack. Season with salt. Hold there until ready to serve. When ready to serve, reheat in a 350°F oven until they are warmed through – about 5-10 minutes.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Turkey croquette quesadillas with queso fresco

Feeling cheesy? Instead of pressing the mix and frying it, use the turkey mixture in quesadillas with queso fresco.

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