Wednesday, 15 June 2016


Last weekend we decided to get our Spanish on and have a little bit of tapas for dinner. The highlight of this feast were these delicious veggie pea and bacon croquettes. They take a long time to prepare but I'm so glad that I took the time and effort to make them as they were one of the best things I've ever made. A bechamel, pea and veggie bacon filling with a touch of nutmeg encased in a crispy golden brown breadcrumb coating that makes for the perfect finger food for eating outside on a sunny day with a glass of crisp white wine.

So of course if you can't live without a bit of meat in your life you can use proper bacon if you like. Add it in with the onions if you do as it will take long to cook compared to the veggie bacon. In the recipe below I've used Quorn bacon as I think it's super yummy but feel free to use another type veggie bacon instead if you have another preference.

The peas are a great addition to the croquettes. I've used frozen peas and if you wish to do the same then make sure they are fully defrosted and dry before you add them to the pan. If they are too wet the filling will be too wet and may not set proper in the fridge. If your not a pea fan then you can leave them out as. Why not try and replace them with a different vegetable instead and come up with your own special croquettes.

Nutmeg; it can sometimes not to be everyone's taste so if you don't like it then leave it out but make sure you add extra seasoning or another type of spice such as paprika just to give the filling a lift. If you do use nutmeg make sure that you don't go overboard. Nutmeg can be very overpowering and will ruin the croquettes if you use too much so trust me when I say that a pinch of nutmeg will be all you need.

For my breadcrumb coating to the croquettes I've used smashed up bread sticks. I find that they just give the coating a touch more crunchiness then what you get with normal breadcrumbs. If you don't have any bread sticks then you can of course use normal breadcrumbs, just make sure the filling is well coated in them so that they do not leak when frying. I like to leave some bigger pieces of bread sticks in the mix when I smash them too just to add that extra level and crunchiness which you can't achieve with fine breadcrumbs. Best way to do this is to put the bread sticks in a clear seal-able bag and bash them with a rolling bin. Don't worry if you go overboard and bash them so they are all fine, they will still work on the outside of the filling.

Lets get cracking with the recipe. Remember to take care with hot oil and have a damp towel at hand in case a fire does happen. Use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil or if you don't have one you can chuck a few breadcrumbs into the oil and if they fizz instantly then your oil is ready. You'll need a 1lb loaf tin to chill the filling ready to make into roughly 24 of the most amazing veggie croquettes you will ever eat.

Pea And Ham Croquettes

50g Butter
1 Finely Chopped Onion
800ml Whole Milk
4 Slices Finely Diced Quorn Bacon
Handfull Frozen Peas
60g Plain Flour
Pinch Of Grated Nutmeg
Salt And Pepper To Season
80g Bread Sticks
2 Eggs

  1. Begin by placing a large pan on the hob at a medium heat and add in the butter and onions and fry until the onions begin to soften. At the same time in a second pan on a low heat, pour in the milk and heat until just hitting a boil and remove from the heat.
  2. Into the pan with the onions add in the bacon and peas and fry for 2 minutes before adding in the flour and fry for a further minute, stirring constantly so the flour doesn't catch on the base of the pan.
  3. Take the milk and slowly add it to the pan with the flour mixture, whisking as you go until a smooth white sauce has
    formed. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a low heat, adding in the nutmeg and a generous helping of salt and pepper to season and simmer for 35.40 minutes, stirring frequently until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  4. Take a 1lb loaf tin and line with baking paper before pouring in all your sauce. Level out the mixture and cover with cling film so that the film touches the top of the mixture and place in the fridge for around three hours to firm up.
  5. Whilst the mixture firms, take the bread sticks and bash them to form breadcrumbs but don't go too made. You want some bigger bits of bread stick to add a bit of texture to the outside of your croquettes.
  6. After 3 hours, remove the loaf tin from the fridge and carefully turn the mixture out onto a liberally floured surface and carefully peel away the baking paper. Chuck some more flour on the top on top of the mixture and cut the block into roughly 24 equal sized square. With floured hands (lots of flour is the key to this step!) roll the squares into balls and place onto a baking tray as you go.
  7. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat and tip the crushed bread sticks onto a separate plate and then one by one, dip the balls into egg and then roll them in the bread stick crumbs and back onto the baking tray. Don't hang about when you do this or the filling will turn to mush in your hands. Place the baking tray back in the fridge whilst you heat up your oil.
  8. Pour oil into a pan subtitle for deep frying so that the oil is roughly 2cm deep and heat up to 180 degrees. Once add the desired temperature, remove the balls from the fridge and fry them in batches of around 5-6 for about 1 minute each side until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove from the pan onto some kitchen paper to suck up any excess oil.
With any deep fried item it's always best to serve them as quickly as you can to ensure that the breadcrumbs remain as crispy as possible and the filling piping hot. If you do get delayed for some reason you can pop the balls in the oven at around 180 degrees for 5-10 minutes to heat them up but keep an eye on them so that they don't start to burn. Serve your croquettes in a big bowl or tapas dish and get everyone to just tuck in with there fingers. A dipping sauce is optional but I don't think you really need it as the gorgeous pea and bacon filling will still be all soft and gooey with that subtle hint of nutmeg to give them that little bit of oomph. Delicioso!

*This recipe is my veggie adaptation of a recipe by Omar Allibhoy's Tapas Revolution book. It's got tonnes of fab recipes so treat yourself and grab a copy by clicking here!


  1. They look great, & sound great, but too much preparation for me .... I'll come and try yours Matthew if that's okay :)

    1. Your always welcome over but never be shy of prep. The results are worth it believe me! ❤️