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Chicken croquettes?

I've looked for years for a recipe that tastes as close to the Howard Johnson's chicken croquettes from long ago and fear I may never experience them again. Help?

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  1. I f you have an older copy of The Joy of Cooking they cover croquettes pretty well. It would give you a jumping off place for the old HOJO's type. I waitressed and worked the counter in one for a long time, HS and some of college. If I remember theirs were more conical in shape? I remember that they were cooked in the deep fat fryer. Then there was that really salty chicken gravy that went with them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Thanks, I have my mother's copy that came "unbound" several years ago and have lost several chapters. Just might have to check around for one.

      1. re: Candy

        It's a pretty good recipe - I have't made it in ages but it worked out well. I didn't fry them, I baked them and it was still quite good.

      2. Oh my, you brought back such a fond memory. I hope there is another croquette-junky out there who will have a recipe close to Ho-Jo's. A couple of years ago, I tried a number of different recipes from places like grange cookbooks and Pa. Dutch cookbooks, but nuthin came close to my childhood favorite! Maybe it was the gravy. :)

        1. I'm almost afraid to actually find the recipe for fear it will completely ruin my memories. We didn't stop at Ho Jo's all that much as a kid, only when traveling but I had to have the croquettes and the coconut ice cream for dessert.

          1. In her book "Tender at the Bone" Ruth Reichl describes a childhood incident involving chicken croquettes that started me on a search for a good recipe too. In the book, they are made with Bechamel (all cream), seasoned with minced onion, salt, cayenne pepper, and mace. Dipped in cracker crumbs, fried in butter. Supposedly as good as the ones at Delmonico's.. (It's not a recipe, just a description.)
            I've got 8 or 9 croquette recipes now, 2 that I would call "keepers". Please ask if interested.
            SOMEBODY must have Hojo's recipes--anybody know?

            1. I'd actually be interested in the "keeper" recipes. I have two bags of frozen leftover turkey meat that I might want to transform.

              1. Sure, Kevin Andrew Murphy-- one is at Epicurious (I cannot make the link work), but it is under the name "Turkey Croquettes" from May 1998.) There are more than 10 reviews after that recipe, too, so you can read opinions and suggestions.
                The second (they're very similar) boasts "hot creamy-soft interiors, crunchy jackets. You may have forgotten how good they are."
                Chicken Croquettes

                3 TBLS butter or margarine
                1/4 cup flour
                1/2 cup milk
                1/2 cup chicken broth
                1 TBLS minced parsley
                1 tsp. lemon juice
                1 tsp. grated onion
                Dash *each* paprika, pepper, nutmeg
                1/4 tsp. salt
                1 1/2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
                * * *
                3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
                1 beaten egg
                2 TBLS water

                Melt butter, blend in flour, add milk and broth, cook and stir 'til bubbly, cook about 1 minute more. Add parsley, lemon juice, onion, seasonings. Cool, add chicken, salt to taste, and chill.
                Shape into 8 cone shapes (wet hands help) about 1/4 (scant)cup each.
                Roll in crumbs, dip in a mix of the egg and water, then roll in crumbs again. Fry in 365 degree deep hot fat for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes 'til golden brown. This recipe suggests serving these with canned peas in white sauce, so I guess it's a maybe a '50s recipe? Anyhow, enjoy!

                5 Replies
                1. re: blue room

                  Excellent! I'll be a martyr and try all the recipes I can find - in the name of culinary science of course!

                  1. re: Spoonula

                    Spoonula, I think the sauce/gravy that goes over the croquettes is almost as important as the croquettes themselves--and we don't yet have recipe for that--maybe someone will suggest. Was it just a cream sauce, or more like gravy?

                    1. re: blue room

                      Isn't it basically just sort of a bechemel, with a chicken broth base? At least that was what it always tasted like.

                      1. re: blue room

                        Blue room I believe that the sauce was more of a cream sauce than a gravy. I used to LOVE HoJo's croquettes it is very dissappointing that I can not buy them any more.

                        1. re: melly077

                          You have to make aroux- whic is simply flour and butter-about 2 tbls of each. melt butter, addd flour, let cook out fht eflour tastes for a minute or so. Add hot chicken stock a little at a time, about 2 cups, keep stirring intil smooth & creamy. Add salt & pepper to taste. Perfect sauce. Just make sure your cook the flour and butter first.

                  2. I remember it as a salty cream sauce, almost like a white sauce made with chicken broth.

                      1. re: hummingbird

                        I wonder if they still taste ok as I remember from a kid, I adored them as a kid. The brand I get has gotten awful (I can't remember it off-hand), especially the gravy/sauce, let alone they don't even give you enough to cover what comes in the box.

                      2. The Hojoland website refers you to Fairfield Farms, which about a year ago I contacted - they acted like they didn't know what I was talking about - then said they didn't distribute in the Midwest.
                        sivyaleah, you might be referring to Weaver brand chicken croquettes - I've seen several websites that have dispelled the myth that they taste like HoJos.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Spoonula

                          Yes, it's Weaver. Awful. Nothing like HoJo's at all. The sauce is particularly disappointing.

                          1. re: sivyaleah

                            The new distributer is La Mancha LLC, (how funny) but I'm not coming up with any info.

                            Yes, that Farmfields site seems to have been bought by Moosewoods.

                            I live in MA and checked out one of the local stores to see if they carried the HoJo's.

                            As I travel around I'll check out other stores.

                            I do remember, in many years past buying some that looked like little tee pee's so to speak, and they came with little cups of white "gravy".

                            I don't know what brand they where though.

                            Hey, call up Jacques Pepin, he should be able to lead you in the right direction!

                            1. re: hummingbird

                              I guess I'll have to keep making them on my own until then, or at least until I find Jacque's phone number :-)

                              1. re: hummingbird

                                I also live in MA and have checked every store from plymouth to marshfield no one has them any more.

                            2. re: Spoonula

                              We've been trying to find the croquettes and sauce for years as well with no luck thus we're designing our own recipies based on memory. Haven't hit on it exactly but the eatin' is good. We'll keep searching.

                              1. re: foodie128

                                One brand I remember in Boston back in the day was Seiler's Chicken Croquettes - a childhood food memory! And the sauce was a white gravy, probably made with stock.

                            3. When my last rurkey was overcooked (oven thermometer malfunction) I made croquettes to use up the dry meat. I looked up several recipes so as to learn the basic similarities, then winged it. Sauteed onions and celery in butter, added flour and garam masala until I had a nice roux as the base for a thick bechamel to which I added chicken base. This and the turkey all went into the food processor, with an egg and some of the leftover turkey stuffing (which included apple and raisins). The result was pretty loose although the patties I made firmed up in the fridge. I dipped them in egg and panko and did a shallow pan-fry. The sauce was a cream sauce to which I added some leftover turkey gravy. There was enough for 6 portions, and I can't wait to make something similar again. I think it was including the stuffing that put them over the top. When I was a kid, a friend always got the name wrong and called them culottes - we both regarded the HoJo's version as a treat, but this grown-up version beat the pants off the HoJo's culottes!

                              1. Hi. About a year or two ago, I asked my local Stop and Shop to order them for me--they ordered a case of them. You wouldn't believe how fast I went through them, and even rationed them for my kids, who loved them too. You might try asking your local store for it...I think Bozzuto's was involved in the distribution somehow.

                                1. I can't resist this snarky comment:

                                  To make these, take any old chicken croquette recipe, omit the chicken, and you will be right on track to recreate the HoJo version.

                                  The HoJo treats I remember from childhood were their fried clams and the pistachio ice cream.

                                  1. I use the same recipe that blue room uses ... Try this sauce
                                    Hollandaise Sauce

                                    4 Egg Yolks
                                    2 sticks butter, Warmed
                                    1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
                                    2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
                                    1 tablespoon Hot Water


                                    Place a double broiler on medium heat. Once water is simmering, place egg yolks and lemon juice in a metal mixing bowl. Whisk eggs over water slowly cooking them, being careful not to burn.

                                    Once egg yolk mixture has thickened slightly, remove from heat and set aside.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Roxc

                                      Thats like a Bernaise sauce that you would put on Eggs Benedict. The only thing missing is the Tarragon vinegar.

                                      1. re: lipstix64

                                        Eggs Benedict and most of its variations have Hollandaise Sauce, which is what Roxc's recipe is. Eggs Commander has Bearnaise Sauce.

                                      2. re: Roxc

                                        My current hollandaise recipe says to whisk the lemon juice and egg yolks with salt and pepper, and then melt butter over medium heat, whisking constantly, until sauce is thick and there are tiny bubbles around the edge of the saucepan. The problem I have is that it separates after I remove it from the heat, and I have to whisk it again. Am I cooking it too long? Not long enough? Am I doing something else wrong?