Croquetas de Jamon

Makes 24-30 croquetas

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 a small onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 cups (12 ozs.) smoked or baked ham, minced and then ground to paste with a food processor
1 fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups fine plain bread crumbs
3 tablespoons flour

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and  cook until it’s soft. Add the 1/4 cup of flour to the butter and onions and whisk in the pan. Gradually add the evaporated milk; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally or until the mixture comes just to a boil and is thick and creamy. Add the ground ham, parsley, wine, pepper and nutmeg; mix well. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes over low heat. Taste the ham mixture.  It should be salty enough, but if not, add some salt to taste.

Pour the ham mixture into an 8 inch square baking pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let cool in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes so that it will solidify a bit and be easier to work with.This can also be done overnight.

Beat the eggs with water in a small mixing bowl until frothy. Combine the bread crumbs and flour and place in a second wide bowl or plate. Divide the ham mixture in the pan by cutting it into thirds crosswise and in eights lengthwise. Shape into logs that are about 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4-inch wide.

Dip the croquetas into egg and water mixture and then roll in the crumb mixture until evenly coated. Place croquetas back in the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In the mean time, heat the oil in a large cast iron pan so the heat is at 177°C (350°F). Fry croquetas for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve the croquetas warm.
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