Thursday, August 13, 2020

Potato, pea and cheese croquettes for Nana

Croquetes de batata, ervilha e queijo

Food is a synonym of love and comfort in many moments of our lives. Days ago I was thinking about my grandmother, who is now 95 years old and no longer remembers people or things. I kept the thought to myself and continued my day. 

On the following day I received a message from one of my cousins saying that she had played my Instagram stories for grandma, and that she recognized me from the videos, saying that I looked just like my mom, but only on the outside, because on the inside I was just like her, grandma, and that we were too intense and that made us go through life with a lot of suffering. I cried so much on that day, because she remembered both me and my mom, and also because yes, we pretend to be strong, Nana, but we suffer, and we feel lonely, and we cry.

After that I went to the kitchen and cooked food that reminded me of Nana: croquettes – every time she made these for lunch I was a happy kid. She used to make croquettes using leftover minced beef (already cooked) or leftover pot roast, but I decided to make a vegetarian version, and baked the croquettes instead of frying. The dough is very soft, so be careful when turning the croquettes on the baking sheet – and feel free to fry them if you wish.


Potato, pea and cheese croquettes

own recipe


2 medium potatoes (300g/10oz weighed before peeling), peeled and cu tinto quarters


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

¼ cup frozen peas, thawed

¾ cup (50g) yellow mozzarella, coarsely grated*

freshly ground black pepper


For coating the croquettes:

1 egg + 2 teaspoons cold water, beaten with a fork and seasoned with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper

2/3 cup dried breadcrumbs, seasoned with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper


Place the potatoes on a small saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and then cook over high heat until potatoes are tender – just like you would do for mashed potatoes. Drain and mash them, using a ricer if possible. Add the butter, peas and the cheese, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Using 2 leveled tablespoons of dough at a time, shape the dough into croquettes and transfer to a plate. Refrigerate for 40 minutes so they are firmer.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a medium baking sheet with foil and brush it well with olive oil – very important step, since the melted cheese might stick to the foil.

Roll the croquettes in the egg mixture, them in the breadcrumbs, and place them 2.5cm (1in) apart in the prepared sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, carefully turn the croquettes and then bake for another 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

* the yellow mozzarella I used is not like fresh mozzarella balls, therefore it does not release too much liquid. Replace by cheddar or something similar texture wise.

Makes about 12 croquettes

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