450ml (15fl oz) milk
few slices of carrot and onion
1 small bay leaf
sprig of thyme
4 parsley stalks
200g (7oz) Roux (see recipe)
2 egg yolks, preferably free range
225g (8oz) grated mature Irish Cheddar cheese
a pinch of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
seasoned white flour, preferably unbleached
fine dried white breadcrumbs
Accompaniment: Served with Ballymaloe Country Relish
We get into big trouble if these crispy cheese croquettes are not on the Ballymaloe buffet every Sunday - served with Ballymaloe Relish
Makes 25 - 30, depending on size
Put the cold milk into a saucepan with the carrot, onion and herbs, bring slowly to the boil, simmer for 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to infuse for about 10 minutes if you have enough time. Strain the flavourings, rinse them and add to a stock if you have one on the go. Bring the milk back to the boil, whisk in the roux bit by bit; it will get very thick but persevere. (The roux always seems like a lot too much but you need it all so don’t decide to use less).
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes on a gentle heat, then remove from the heat, stir in the egg yolks, cheese, pinch of cayenne, mustard and optional chives. Taste and correct the seasoning. Spread out on a wide plate to cool.
When the mixture is cold or at least cool enough to handle, shape into balls about the size of a golf ball or 25g (1oz) approx. Roll first in seasoned flour, then in beaten
egg and then in fine breadcrumbs. Chill until firm but bring back to room temperature before cooking otherwise they may burst. Just before serving, heat a deep fryer to 170°C/325°F and cook the Cheese Croquettes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with a green salad and perhaps some Ballymaloe Country Relish.
Note: Cooked Cheese Croquettes can be kept warm in an oven for up to 30 minutes. They can also be frozen and reheated in an oven.
110g (4oz/1 stick) butter
110g (4oz/1 cup) flour
Melt the butter and cook the flour in it for 2 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Use as required. Roux can be stored in a cool place and used as required or it can be made up on the spot if preferred. It will keep at least a fortnight in a refrigerator.