"This meal was the special request of my sister Maria for her birthday. My mom managed a group of restaurants for many years which included some franchise Howard Johnson’s. Back in the day, HoJo’s hired famed French chef Pierre Franey to develop signature recipes for Howard Johnson’s, which included chicken croquettes. This is my version of the Franey great based on my mom’s recollection of seeing the original recipe in print and research I’ve done over the years. My additions include a little more garlic, ground thyme, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg." - Rachael
- For the Poached Chicken:
- 1 onion, quartered with root end attached
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks on an angle
- 2 ribs celery, cut into chunks on an angle
- 2 large fresh bay leaves
- 2 full bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- For the Croquettes:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, very finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 6 tablespoons flour
- About 1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs, divided
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- A small handful of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- About 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a couple small handfuls
- 1 extra-large organic egg
- 1/4 cup water
- Frying oil
- For the Gravy:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 extra-large egg yolk, beaten
To poach chicken, place onion, carrots, celery and bay in a pot. Add chicken, cover with water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and reduce heat to simmer; poach at gentle, low rolling boil for 1 hour. Remove chicken and let cool. Strain stock, simmer 30 minutes more and strain again.
Remove chicken from bones and separate from skin. Chop chicken meat and add to food processor; pulse to fine-chop. You should yield about 2 1/2 cups chopped meat. Cool in refrigerator in a large mixing bowl.
For the croquettes, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and season with salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Stir 5-6 minutes to soften, add flour and whisk 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock then cream. Add some to a small bowl with the egg yolks to temper then add everything back to the sauce and let thicken. Remove from heat and stir in about 1/2 cup breadcrumbs – the sauce should be very thick. Let cool, then pour room temp sauce over cold chicken. Combine and chill at least 1 hour more.
Heat a few inches of oil in a Dutch oven or in a countertop fryer to 360°F to 365°F.
Heat oven to 275°F and place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.
Combine remaining breadcrumbs with Panko, parsley and cheese in a shallow dish. Beat egg with water in a second shallow dish.
For the gravy, melt butter in a saucepot or skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, cook 1-2 minutes, add stock and let thicken. Season with Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Ladle some gravy into egg yolk to temper then add back to gravy, adjust seasoning to taste and reduce heat to low.
Use a conical ice cream scoop to form a pyramid shape or use damp hands to roll balls and form 12-15 croquettes. Turn croquettes in egg wash then gently press breading mixture evenly all over the croquettes. Fry croquettes 3-4 at a time until deeply golden, turning conical shapes gently as they cook to evenly brown, 5-6 minutes per croquette.
Keep croquettes warm in oven on rack until ready to serve.
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