Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Turkish Croquettes

I have to admit, a lot of what I cook never makes it onto this blog.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Sometimes I take pictures that seem good but when I look at them on my computer the final product doesn't look as good as it tasted.  Other times, I start cooking late, cannot get good light for the pictures, and by the next morning there is nothing left to take a picture of.  And there are the rare occasions when the food just tastes bad.  Luckily that doesn't happen too often!  Now, for this dish I wasn't completely satisfied with my pictures because I made these at night but this is too good of a recipe not to share!

I made these croquettes using my bulgur cookbook.  On a side note-I have never come in contact with a croquette before but I do not know how to describe this dish so I am following the example set by my cookbook.  In Turkey, there is a popular dish that consists of a bulgur shell filled with ground meat.  I had eaten it during my trip in the summer as well as in restaurants in New York City and I had thought that it would be difficult to make.  When I saw this similar recipe, only with beans, I was excited to try it out and I am really happy that I did!



It definitely took time to form the proper shape of the croquettes and some practice.  I felt that the bulgur shell to bean ratio was difficult to master.  I made some where the shell was too thick and then there were not enough filling.  I think that overall the shell needs to be spread to a thickness of about 1/4 of an inch.  When I made them, I ran out of bulgur and had leftover filling so it definitely will take some time to get the proportions right.

Also when working with the bulgur, it helped to keep my hands wet.  Otherwise, it was difficult to work with.

Overall, I have to say that this was a fun dish to prepare and I definitely want to make it again.  I also think that it would be fun to serve these at a dinner party, they appear to be more labor intensive than they really are, and you can impress your guests!



Croquettes
makes about 10-15, depending on the thickness of the shell

Shell

2 cups extra fine bulgur
1 medium yellow onion, grated or chopped in a food processor
1 egg
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups water

Filling
1 can red kidney beans
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the filling:

1.  In a large pan, cook the onion in olive oil over low heat until soft.

2.  Stir in the tomato paste, followed by the salt, pepper, chili pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

For the shell:

1. In a large bowl combine the bulgur, onion, egg, tomato paste, four, and salt.  Wet hands and knead the bulgur until it softens into a consistency of dough.

2.  Spread about a 1/4 cup of bulgur on a flat surface.  Use your hands to flatten it to a consistent thickness (about 1/4 of an inch thick).

3.  Place about 1-1 1/2 spoons of the bean mixture in the middle of the bulgur shell (see my first picture).

4.  Use a knife to separate the bulgur shell from the flat surface.  Put the shell, with the filling on top, in the palm of your hand and fold the shell together until it closes.  Smooth the edges together by rolling the croquette in your hand.  Extra bulgur may need to be added to fully close the croquette.

5.  Place the formed croquettes in a large pot.  Cover them with water and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes until the croquettes rise to the surface.

6.  Serve warm with lemon slices.

Enjoy!

~Rona

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