Beef and Sweet Potato Croquettes
These beef and Japanese sweet potato croquettes have Japanese flavour cues, slightly sweet, slightly gingery, and optionally spicy. Coated in a stretchy, cheesy exterior and crispy crumb (almost like mochi, but savoury/sweet and hot, more potatoey when in cools), these are about as moreish as it gets.
For the Beef Filling:
400 Featherblade or Braising Steaks
5 Cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons of Crushed Ginger Paste
1 Inch of Fresh Horseradish, grated
3 Tablespoons Japanese Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Mirin
3 Teaspoons of Raw Brown Sugar
1 Strip of Dried Kombu Seaweed
1/2 Red Chilli, minced (optional)
For the Coating:
~400g Japanese Sweet Potato (White Flesh/Red Skin)
75g Plain White Flour
100g Shredded Mozarella
Breadcrumbs (I used a stale loaf of bread, blitzed in the blender, but storebought is good too)
I used a pressure cooker for this method. A normal pot should also work just fine, but a pressure cooker really expedites the process, and has great results.
The beef is super easy. There is no browning or anything like that. Everything except the sugar and salt goes into the pot on a medium heat. Cover with a lid until the beef is falling apart when you stir it. This should be around 1 hour. In a pressure cooker, my beef fell apart about 25mins in.
Remove the lid, take out the kombu and discard. Boil the meat all the way down until it is juicy, but not dry. Essentially, my test is if the meat is bunched up in the side of the pot, the juice flows away very, very slowly. Stir in the sugar until dissolved, and continue to caramelize on a low heat for five more minutes. At this point all the garlic will have disintegrated into the meat. Set the meat aside, allow to cool. Stir in a teaspoon of sesame oil.
Peel, chop and boil the sweet potato until tender. Blend with an immersion blender while hot. Add the flour to the mixture (while hot) and stir in thoroughly until you achieve a sticky, stretchy mixture. Quite doughy! Allow the mixture to cool, then stir in the shredded cheese.
Form the balls with wet hands - I used water, but you could use a vegetable oil. Flatten out a golf-ball sized ball of the dough into a round, add about a teaspoon of the beef and fold the dough up around it. Smooth it out, then put it in a tray with 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Roll the ball around in the cornflour to get a good coating.
Beat an egg into a bowl. Roll the balls, one by one in the egg wash, then coat in breadcrumbs. Set aside ready for frying. Once all the balls are complete, deep or shallow fry in a neutral vegetable oil for about five minutes, or longer if you're shallow frying (rotate the shallow fried balls regularly to ensure even frying!)
Serve with a crisp, tangy salad (the one in the photo is snow peas, blanched julienne courgettes and cucumbers, rocket, cress, sesame seeds, mirin and yuzu), and a blob of Kewpie sauce.