Old Fashioned Chicken Croquettes
When I was a little kid, we used to get frozen chicken croquettes. I have not seen them in my grocers freezer for years (other than the hispanic kind) I was wondering if they still make them. I remember Howard Johnson did them, but I dont think Howard Johnson does frozen food anymore?
Anyone got any ideas?
Yeah---with a paper container of yellow goo sauce. With as little comment as possible on whatever is in them & edibility & all, not to mention how cruel our memories can be re: childhood faves vs. reality..........Seems I've always seen supermarket froz-food section versions of this with names like En-cor, Banquet, Alpo (sorry). Frankly, I too have a fond spot in my gut for this kind of stuff but too many disappointing trips down that memory lane have tempered my enthusiasm. Good luck.
I'm not so sure our childhood memories are as far off as you think. I'll bet that way back when (like 30 or 40 years ago) the food that was in the frozen food section was much closer to real food than the overly processed paste and factory farmed protien that constitues almost everything in the frozen section now. Maybe I'm wrong but I do remember lots of things tasting better than they do today with all of the modern miracles of science and corn/soy derivatives that make up aisles 2-20 of the supermarket today. Lord I loved those little chicken croquettes with the boil bag of yellow goo. Can't imagine trying one now though.
As far as Hojo goes, remember who the chef was that designed all these dishes - both the stuff in the restaurants and the frozen foods. It was Jacques Pepin, on his first job here in the US. And he turned down a job at the White House to take on this task of cooking consistent and good meals for the masses working for Mr. Howard Johnson (senior), who's product quality concern led him to hire not just one but two top notch French Chefs (Pierre Franey being the other). Too bad junior ruined the empire looking for easy profits.
I just made croquettes from scratch this weekend - starting with a bunch of roux, chicken stock, sauteed peas & carrots and lots of rotisserie chicken, hand-pulled into small chunks, and some smoked salmon (not in the same batch - half were chicken croquettes, the other half salmon). Let the mixture thicken in the fridge, bread (flour/egg/breading - I use panko), then deep fat fry until nice and crispy and golden. When you cut it open, it oozes out a bit. I made hollandaise to go with it, but the kids always prefer tonkatsu sauce on the chicken. It's kinda like a chicken pot pie, but with a thick breading instead of a pie crust or puff pastry.
Paper container? Nah, they had a metal container when I was growing up :-) I LOVED them, it was my preferred "tv" dinner, along with a side of frozen mac & cheese.
They are still around however, the sauce is now awful. The recommended way to heat it up is by sticking it in a cup of hot water to start unfreezing it, and then microwaving. It tastes like cardboard. Blah. They have mucked with the recipe and it has very little flavor and they don't give you enough for the portions in the box. The whole point was to drown the croquettes, not use it as a dipping sauce, you know? I swear, it maybe covers 2 of them.
I can't remember who is making them, it is one of the major manufacturer's, but not Hojo. I think it may be Stoufffer.
I keep meaning to just bite the bullet and make them myself. I've done it in the past, it's a bit time consuming, and I never found the perfect recipe.
The croquettes themselves aren't too bad but the sauce, that's another story. I guess you could always just buy some extra chicken flavored sauce, and discard what they give you.