Makeover your leftover ham and cheese into these croquettes that are sure to become a big hit with adults and kids alike. You can choose to serve them as a side to go with your meal, or simply enjoy them as a snack with our convenient homemade tomato sauce recipe for dipping fun.
- 60 g butter
- 1 small onion (80 g), chopped finely
- 100 g leftover ham, chopped finely
- ¼ cup (35 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1¼ cups (310 ml) milk
- 150 g manchego cheese, grated
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 2 cups (150 g) panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion (150 g), chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- 400 g canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp caster sugar
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add onion and ham; cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until onion is softened. Add flour; cook, stirring, for 1 min or until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat; gradually whisk in milk. Return to heat; cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Simmer, stirring, for 1 min; stir in cheese, paprika and parsley.
Pour mixture into a shallow heatproof dish. Cover, refrigerate for 2 hrs or until cold.
Meanwhile, make tomato sauce. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cook onion, stirring, for 10 mins or until soft but not coloured. Add garlic and chilli; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; simmer, uncovered, for 5 mins or until sauce is thickened. Season to taste.
Fill a large saucepan one-third full with oil; heat to 180 C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 secs). Deep-fry croquettes, in batches, for 2 mins or until browned lightly and heated through. Drain on paper towel.
Serve croquettes with tomato sauce.
TIP Deep-fried food is very hot in the centre; allow the croquettes to stand for a few minutes to cool slightly before serving.
TIP Recipe can be made to the end of step 4 a day ahead. Deep-fry croquettes and reheat sauce just before serving.