These croquettes are a more modern way to savour a very traditional ingredient, the alheira sausage. Since alheiras are made from poultry and bread, they have a softer texture which is the perfect base for croquettes. On top of that, it’s already pre-seasoned and full of flavour with spices such as paprika, garlic and herbs. Not requiring many ingredients nor advanced cooking skills are really just bonuses to cooking this lovely Portuguese snack! That’s very popular in the whole country and as equally appreciated as alheira itself.
A Quick Note on Alheira
Alheira is one of the few Portuguese enchidos which is not made with pork, instead it uses poultry and sometimes game. That’s because alheiras are believed to have been created by the Jews of Portugal during the Inquisition. To avoid being persecuted, many would pretend to convert into Christianity while still practicing their faith in secret. In the northern city of Mirandela, this pretending went as far as creating a pork-free sausage to mask the Jewish practice of not consuming pork.
Many centuries later, when making alheiras is no longer required for survival, they have become very popular among the Portuguese! The variety produced in Mirandela is now protected as PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) regulations in Europe. In 2011, Alheiras de Mirandela was elected as one of The 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy!
How to Make Croquetes de Alheira
Serves: 16 croquettes of approx. 28g each
Calories: 74 calories per croquette
Prep Time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes of fridge time
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
- 2 alheira sausages
- 1 small onion finely diced – approx 80g
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 of a cup of parsley finely chopped– approx. 7g
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- Breadcrumbs or panko flour – approx. 100g
- 1 L canola oil or other vegetable oil of preference
- Place a medium non-stick frying pan over low heat. Once the pan is hot enough, add the olive oil and onion. Fry for a couple of minutes until soften.
- Remove the sausage meat from the casings, discarding it. Put it into the pan, and with a wooden spoon gently pound it, letting it fry for a couple of minutes until it becomes a dough. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add in the chopped parsley and season with some black pepper. Cover with cling film, then place it in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes for the dough to set.
- Place a deep-frying pan over low to medium heat, add the canola oil, let it heat up slowly while you shape the croquettes.
- Divide the dough into 16 portions of approximately 28g each, shape them into balls.
- Add your eggs to a bowl, season with salt and black pepper, then beat them slightly. In another bowl, add your breadcrumbs, season it too.
- Now it’s time to start breading it, dip the croquettes first in the eggs, then into the breadcrumbs, making sure all sides are equally coated.
- Check the temperature of the oil, we are aiming at 190 °C. Alternatively, you can use disposable wooden chopsticks to check the temperature by carefully sticking one of the ends into the oil. Many gently but consistent bubbles should form when the oil is ready.
- Fry the croquettes until golden brown, dividing it into smaller batches in order not to lower the oil temperature. Place the fried croquettes on top paper towel before serving. Serve them with mustard, chilli jam or a sauce of your choice!
Have you tried this recipe? Let me know in the comments below! Now if you are looking for some more Portuguese snacks, perhaps you would like to try these Portuguese Cod Cakes with Cheese!