Turn leftover mashed potatoes into this pub food mash-up: pepperoni pizza potato croquettes. Inspired by tater tots, mozzarella sticks, and pizza rolls, this recipe is extremely craveable. Sean and I ate an entire batch for lunch one delicious day recently. We have no regrets.
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This is a great party food snack because you can do most of the work ahead of time. You can easily mix the potato croquette filling, shape, and freeze for when you need them. Then bread and fry fresh “to order”. But you don’t need a party to enjoy them; fry up a small batch for movie night. Or serve them with a salad for a well-rounded dinner.
About frying: I’ve turned a corner on frying at home. I have lots of oven-fried recipes on this blog because historically, I’ve really hated the mess that frying makes. But, I’ve come to terms that sometimes it’s worth a little mess. I still think my oven-fried eggplant is perfect; but for something like these potato croquettes, frying will provide better results.
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You can use any heavy pot or pan for frying, but I really like using my cast iron skillet or wok for frying. Both are fairly efficient with oil. The cast iron skillet has the added benefit of keeping an even heat throughout the cooking process. The wok is deep enough to cut down on splatter. Both of these vessels have helped me get over my anxiety around frying.
This recipe is a good one to perfect your frying technique. You don’t have to worry about undercooking these croquettes–they take just a couple of minutes on each side crisp up, warm the filling, and melt the cheese.
Pepperoni Pizza Potato Croquettes
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 oz Jack cheese grated
- 2 oz mozzarella cheese grated
- ½ oz pecorino cheese grated
- 3 oz pepperoni diced small, ~1/4-inch dice
- 2 eggs divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
- marinara sauce for serving
- In a large bowl, mix together mashed potatoes, oregano, granulated garlic, crushed red pepper, kosher salt, all of the cheeses, pepperoni, and 1 egg.Stir to combine well. Make sure the egg is full incorporated into the mixture.
- Portion into 1 oz portions (~2 tbsp). Then shape each portion into a 3-4-inch cylinder shape. Remember those playdough skills you learned in pre-school. They're coming in handy now. Place the croquettes on a parchment paper lined sheet pan or baking dish that will fit in the freezer.Freeze for about 15-20 minutes.
- Set up your breading station using three cake pans (or bowls). Pour half of the flour in one. Add the second egg to another pan and whisk the egg until fully beaten. In the third pan, pour half of the panko breadcrumbs. I like to hold back on the flour and panko because I'm never sure exactly how much I need for breading. This way I can add a bit more as needed but won't waste too much. Bread your croquettes by dredging in flour (make sure to get the ends of the cylinder), the dip in the egg, and then in the panko coating well. You can bread all of the croquettes before starting the frying process.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottom, high sided pan with about 2-inches of oil. Heat over medium high heat until your oil reaches 350F degrees. Fry the croquettes in batches. Try not to crowd the pan. Fry on each side for about 2-3 minutes until the croquettes are golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on a rack that's sitting above paper towels. Season the croquettes with kosher salt as they come out of the oil.
- Serve with your favorite marinara sauce (see below for a quick recipe.)
- If you’d like to keep some croquettes in the freezer for later, before the breading step, once the croquettes are frozen, move them to a zip top bag. They should keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you want to cook them, bread and fry.
- Quick marinara sauce: sweat about 1/4 cup of finely diced onion in a tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Cook for another 30 seconds. Add a can of diced tomatoes, 1 tsp of oregano, and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
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