Pastrami and Cheese Croquettes

cooked pastrami and cheese croquettes

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Typically when we make corned beef or pastrami we serve it with peas, mash and mustard sauce or in a Reuben sandwich.

Don’t get me wrong – both are delicious, but there is only so much sauerkraut I can handle in a week.

To steer away from the usual and see what else could be done with our leftovers I came up with the idea to make pastrami and cheese croquettes – and they did not disappoint.

The salty spicy pastrami is a great substitute for traditional ham that I would usually use, and you really cant beat the crispy shell encasing a delicious fluffy potato filling.

Preparing the fillings

First things first! Chop up around just under 2 pounds of potatoes into medium sized chunks.

Put them in a pot and cover with cold water and a teaspoon of salt. Starting with cold water helps the potatoes cook evenly so you don’t have the outer layers getting water clogged and falling off while the center is still hard.

potatoes in a pot

The potatoes are done when you can easily slide a fork into a few of them.

Once you can do this, drain and spread out on some paper towels or napkins to dry and steam. You want to make sure all the water has evaporated off.

cooked potatoes

After the potatoes are fluffy and dry you can return them to the pot and mash until virtually all the lumps are gone.

Now here you can either use the pot to mix or pour the mash into a mixing bowl, really depends how much you like doing dishes.

In with the potato, add the cheese, pastrami, chives, cream, and seasoning. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 of pepper, but you do you!

A quick note on the cheese, I cut it into small cubes because I like biting into the croquette and getting the cheese bursts. If you grate it, the whole thing is cheese flavored (not that this is a bad thing) and you don’t get the hit from the pastrami or the molten pockets of gooey cheese. But by all means grate away! Either way they will taste great….

pastrami and cheese croquette mixture

Mix all the goodness together until just combined, you want to avoid over working the potato. Sometimes the texture can become super gluey.

Making the croquettes

When everything has come together, shape into small logs roughly the same size. I got 15 from mine, and they were approx. 3 inches long. How delicious does all that speckled pastrami look!

pastrami and cheese croquettes uncooked in a row

To get that crispy coating on the outside (lets face it, the best part), you will need to bread the croquettes. Dipping first in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. You know the drill.

I used panko breadcrumbs for pretty much everything I need to coat in a crumb. I just find that it makes everything that much crispier and therefore more delicious.

3 bowls filled with flour, eggs, and crumb
croquettes sitting in a bowl of egg and breadcrumbs

Flour, egg, breadcrumb. Flour, egg, breadcrumb… until you’ve coated all the little pillowy nuggets!

crumbed croquettes ready for frying

Fill a deep pot, no more than a quarter high, with canola oil for deep frying. You really just want enough so the croquettes are fully submerged so they have a nice even crispiness.

Go ahead and heat the oil to 350°F . When its come up to temp slowly drop 2-3 croquettes into the oil.

You ideally don’t want to be frying any more than this at a time otherwise the temp of the oil will drop to low, which will just make the croquettes absorb more oil and potentially go soggy.

I use my trusty Thermapen from ThermoWorks to measure the temperature of the oil.

oil in pot on stove cooking croquettes, thermometer reading oil temperature

Fry the croquettes for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. When you remove them place them on some paper towels to drain off any excess oil, and don’t forget to sprinkle with a little salt!

fried croquettes draining on paper towels

How good do these look…. I just want to jump back in the kitchen and make them all over again.

Now you could serve these with just about any sauce you want.

They were really tasty with a tangy mustard based BBQ sauce. Or, since they have that pastrami goodness, you could use a Russian dressing to dip.

Not only are these croquettes a great way to use some of that extra pastrami you made, but they are super simple to whip up – and not to mention delicious.

Lunch, dinner or even as an appetizer, you can’t go wrong.

cooked pastrami and cheese croquettes
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Pastrami and Cheese Croquettes

Servings 15 Croquettes
Author Emma Brown

Ingredients

  • 1.7 lb potatoes (cut into medium chunks)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¾ cup cheddar (cut into small cubes)
  • ¾ cup pastrami (finely diced)
  • 2 tbsp chives (finely diced)
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cup panko crumbs (other dried crumbs are fine too)
  • canola oil (for deep frying)

Instructions

  • Place diced potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil and cook potatoes until a fork can easily slide in.
  • Drain the potatoes and lay out on some tea towels to dry and steam. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash until there are no longer any major lumps.
  • Add the mash to a large bowl with the cheese, pastrami, chives, ½ tsp salt, pepper and cream. Give it all a good mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Roll the mixture into small even logs, I managed to make about 15 from this recipe.
  • Place the eggs, flour and panko crumbs into three separate bowls to bread the croquettes.
  • Lightly dust each croquette in flour, followed by the egg wash, then the panko crumb.
  • Heat the oil up to 350°F ready for deep frying.
  • Fry 2 – 3 croquettes at a time until nice and golden brown. When they are done, drain on some paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt.

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