Why You Should Be Turning Your Leftovers Into Croquettes

Sometimes, there's nowhere left to turn with your dried-out leftover turkey or chicken after a big meal. You've exhausted your lineup of soup, chicken-pot pie, sandwiches, and even tacos. Your fridge might also be loaded up with too much mashed potatoes, or rice, or even beans. In this case, allow us to suggest the final frontier of leftovers: croquettes. Breaded, fried, and creamy inside, the croquette is a perfect side or even main to use those leftovers up for good. Just what is a croquette, you ask?

Croquettes, a favorite of the Dutch and originally from France, can be made from a base of white sauce with onions, chopped meat or another leftover, then mixed with eggs, breaded, and deep-fried to perfection (via the Chicago Tribune). Think Italian arancini or something like a mozzarella stick with more substance. The Dutch go crazy over these snacks, and eat them everywhere, from bars to McDonald's in a sandwich called the McKroket, according to the Spruce Eats. Crunchy croquettes can be yours too with a leftover in hand and a quick white sauce.

How to make croquettes from leftovers

You can cook croquettes and improvise on them endlessly with a basic formula from the Chicago Tribune. Make a classic white sauce with some butter, flour, and milk and add it to some sautéed onions and your leftover of choice. Then, you add egg yolks. Whatever other flavorings you might have on hand can also easily go into the mix: think salt and pepper, spices, herbs, even scallions or mushrooms. 

Here comes the trick: you chill the mixture in the fridge until it becomes firm and rollable, and then you shape it into little balls or tater tot shapes. Then they go into egg again, and breadcrumbs, and then hot oil as you fry them to crispy, soft-inside perfection. We can see this working as a vegetarian or vegan recipe just as easily — spinach-artichoke dip croquettes, perhaps? Curry croquettes with a coconut-milk based sauce? So stop sitting on those leftovers, people. Croquette instead.