These may not be your typical croquettes, but they are delicious. The outer crunch of croquettes typically comes from a deep-fried bread crumb coating, but the quinoa used here for the body of the croquette crunches beautifully with only a light frying in oil, and sans breading.
The earthy, nutty flavors of quinoa and buckwheat are brightened with lemon zest and tangy fresh cranberries chopped with sea salt and a touch of sugar. Lightly-toasted pecans bring even more nuttiness and crunch, and fresh aromatic rosemary balances it all out its peppery, piney flavor. Use red or black or a mixture of different-colored quinoa and serve with a couple slices of satsuma mandarin for a party-worthy presentation. A sprig of rosemary never hurts, either – plus it looks just like a mini pine tree sprig and is perfect for a Christmas dinner.
These are definitely fit for a party, especially during this time of year, with the bright red cranberries and pops of green scallions. They are also quickly put together and can be made a couple of days ahead. I think I might make them again for Christmas Day – I love the loungy day of doing nothing. My little sister always makes french toast and that’s about all the cooking that happens that day, so I will be able to just fry these up and still be able to serve a healthy, delicious lunch without the stress.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 scallion, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- zest of 1/2 lemon + 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour*
- 2 tablespoons oat flour*
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour or cornstarch
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1/3 cup cranberries, chopped with a sprinkle of salt and a teaspoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup satsuma mandarin juice (about 3 mandarins)**
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 inch knob of ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or tapioca flour
- Bring the quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer gently for fifteen minutes. Turn off the heat and let set for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- While you are waiting for the quinoa to finish cooking, make the Satsuma Sauce. Mix together the mandarin juice, soy sauce, maple syrup and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Spoon a little of the mixture into a small bowl and whisk in cornstarch until smooth. Add this to the rest of the satsuma sauce and simmer for up to 5 minutes or until thickened. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.
- Mix scallion, garlic, salt, lemon zest and juice, and all flours into the quinoa mixture until well combined. Add the pecans, cranberries, and rosemary and mix until well distributed.
- Form a 1-inch ball of the quinoa mixture in the palm of your hand, put it on the lined baking sheet, and flatten slightly. They should be about 1/2 inch thick and 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide***. Continue until the quinoa mixture is used up.
- Over medium heat, preheat a skillet (preferably cast iron) with a generous amount of canola oil. When a drop of water skitters on the top of the oil, it is hot enough. Avoid splashing hot oil by carefully laying the croquettes on the pan, about 1/2-1 inch apart. Fry for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and brown the other side, about another 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oil and lay on a paper bag or waxed paper and fry the next batch.
- Serve croquettes hot with the dipping sauce.
- Makes 33 croquettes.
- *Or substitute your favorite flours.
- **Definitely switch out for orange juice if you like.
- ***A cookie drop with spring-loaded handle works great with these.