Lamb and Swiss Chard Croquettes

Crocchette d’agnello e bieta (Lamb and Swiss Chard Croquettes)

In secondi piatti, Spring by Frank17 Comments

About this time of year we often find ourselves facing the same culinary conundrum: what to do with leftover lamb? I have always thought that throwing food away was almost criminal, but, truth be told, it is hard to know what to do with leftover lamb. It tends to develop a strong and, to my mind, none too pleasant taste when cooked again for any length of time. One stratagem to deal with this is to simmer the lamb with strong flavors like curry, that will stand up to (aka cover) the strong taste of re-cooked lamb. But, personally, I think the best way to use leftover lamb is to eat it at room temperature as a kind of salad with a mustardy vinaigrette, or to cook it very quickly.

For example, leftover lamb can be substituted for leftover braised beef to stuff pasta, as for mezzelune al brasato. Or, for a nice secondo, try this recipe: Lamb and Swiss Chard Croquettes:

Ingredients

Serves 4-6 people

  • 500g (1 lb.) leftover lamb roast
  • 250g (1/2 lb.) Swiss chard, trimmed and parboiled
  • 100g grated parmesan cheese (or more if you want)
  • 150-200g country-style bread, crust removed, soaked in milk and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper (if needed)
  • Bread crumbs

Optional:

  • A finely chopped garlic clove, or some finely chopped onion or shallot, sautéed until soft and translucent

Directions

Cut the lamb into chunks and put it in a food processors along with the rest of the ingredients other than the bread crumbs.

Bieta-2

Using the pulse function, chop until you have a fine and well-mixed mince. I prefer to chop the meat into small nuggets, but not completely ground up, which gives your croquettes a more interesting texture. But, of course, you can suit yourself. Taste and adjust for seasoning; the mixture should be very savory.

Bieta-3

Take a hunk of the mixture into your hands and press them tightly into small balls. Flatten the balls into patties or a lozenge-like shape if you like (or just leave them as is).

Bieta-4

 

Roll the patties very lightly in bread crumbs and fry them over moderate heat in olive oil until nice and golden brown on both sides. Serve them immediately, with lemon wedges or, if you like with a light tomato sauce.

Notes

This is about as casual a dish as you can imagine, so all of the measurements given above are really just suggestions. The ratio of lamb to chard, about 2:1 above, can vary as you prefer. You can use more bread, which adds more binder and makes for a tighter (but softer) mixture. And you can add more cheese, which gives the mixture a nice flavor, or omit the cheese if you don’t have on hand or don’t like cheese. You can omit the breadcrumbs as well. No big deal. The above directions assume you’re using some leftover roast lamb that has been well seasoned, say with garlic and rosemary. Otherwise, if using an unseasoned roast or even raw lamb, you can add a bit of finely chopped garlic, or sautéed onion or shallot to lend some more flavor.

Swiss chard (pictured below) has large stalks, which you should trim before parboiling the leaves for about 3-4 minutes in lightly salted water. You then refresh the leaves in cold water and squeeze the leaves tightly to remove as much moisture as you can before adding them to the food processor. The stalks make for good eating just by themselves, by the way, for example, gratinéed like this cardoon dish.

Bieta-5

To serve my lamb and Swiss chard croquettes, I made a light tomato sauce, seasoned with garlic and rosemary: you sauté the seasonings in abundant olive oil until the garlic is just beginning to brown. Remove them from the oil and then pass a can of best-quality tomatoes into the pot through a food mill. Season with salt, pepper and just a pinch of red pepper flakes. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.

Crocchette d’agnello e bieta (Lamb and Swiss Chard Croquettes)

Rating: 51

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Crocchette d’agnello e bieta (Lamb and Swiss Chard Croquettes)

Ingredients

  • 500g (1 lb.) leftover lamb roast
  • 250g (1/2 lb.) Swiss chard, trimmed and parboiled
  • 100g grated parmesan cheese (or more if you want)
  • 150-200g country-style bread, crust removed, soaked in milk and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper (if needed)
  • Bread crumbs
  • Optional:
  • A finely chopped garlic clove, or some finely chopped onion or shallot, sautéed until soft and translucent

Directions

  1. Cut the lamb into chunks and put it in a food processors along with the rest of the ingredients other than the bread crumbs.
  2. Using the pulse function, chop until you have a fine and well-mixed mince. I prefer to chop the meat into small nuggets, but not completely ground up, which gives your croquettes a more interesting texture. But, of course, you can suit yourself. Taste and adjust for seasoning; the mixture should be very savory.
  3. Take a hunk of the mixture into your hands and press them tightly into small balls. Flatten the balls into patties or a lozenge-like shape if you like (or just leave them as is).
  4. Roll the patties very lightly in bread crumbs and fry them over moderate heat in olive oil until nice and golden brown on both sides. Serve them immediately, with lemon wedges or, if you like with a light tomato sauce.
http://memoriediangelina.com/2011/05/01/crocchette-dagnello-e-bieta/

Comments

  1. Thanks, Linda! Sorry about the mix up–glad you took the time to come back and repost your comment. And, yes, I do love that dinnerware…

  2. frank – I think my comment got obliterated during the blogger outage last week, but I'm back to say I love lamb, always wanted to make lamb meatballs, but never got around to it. You've given me inspiration – and you and I have the same dinnerware – Raffaelesco – a pattern that dates back to the middle ages.

  3. Thanks so much, Jennifer! It's feedback like yours that makes this labor of love worthwhile!

  4. I have long wanted to make lamb meatballs/crocchette and you are giving me the incentive to do it. They look great and the fact that you used your leftover lamb is a great idea. I have the exact same place settings as you. You probably know they're called “Raffaelesco” and date back to the middle ages. If you lived closer, we could have a big dinner party and invite tons of people and have enough of the same dinnerware for everyone.

  5. Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your blog! I am going to Italy this fall to attend cooking classes at The Awaiting Table for a week, can't wait!

    Jenny @ Savour the Senses

  6. Thanks again, folks! Glad to hear from your lamblovers out there.

    @Kate: Home grown chard and local lamb? Sounds like a real treat!

    @Spicie Foodie: At our house lamb is, unfortunately, a bit 'controversial', lol!

    @Emily and @Fresh Garden: Thanks!

  7. Looks fabulous. We buy ground lamb from a vendor at our local farmers market and I planted WAY too much swiss chard in the garden this year so this will be on the menu as soon as the chard's ready 🙂

  8. I agree, throwing away food is criminal. This is such a great way to use up that leftover lamb. Though in my house there usually aren't any lamb leftovers. Another great recipe Frank!

  9. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! Hope you all had a great Easter, if you were celebrating.

    @Kelly: Welcome! Thanks so much for the follow!

  10. Meatballs are always a great way of dealing with leftovers, but adding chard makes them even better.

  11. Nice way of dealing with leftover lamb, a great idea.

    As always beautifully presented.

  12. Your croquettes look and sound awesome. I am going to have to file this recipe away and try it next time I have lamb.

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