Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ginger Leek Potato Croquettes with a Fennel Pear Honey Mustard

Kalo mina! That's Greek for "Have a good month," a wish customarily shared amongst Greeks on the first of every month. Speaking of which, today (the first of December) is the deadline for this month's Royal Foodie Joust, a friendly blogger competition hosted by Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and I am running short on time considering I have until noon (it's 10:33 a.m. as I write this) to post this on the RFJ forum.

So, the ingredients for this month's joust were fennel, pear and ginger. Three lovely ingredients indeed and so many dishes they can star in ... but I've got to keep this short. I got some inspiration for this dish from a snippet in the December 2009 issue of Food & Wine highlighting a fennel mustard by Thomas Keller (this master chef's version is just fennel cooked in white vinegar then pureed with mustard powder). I, on the other hand, cooked down some roughly chopped fennel and pear with a pinch of ground ginger in some white vinegar, then pureed it with dry mustard powder and thyme honey. Can you say Mmmmmmmm?

Now, one of my favorite things to eat with mustard is a good potato knish. A knish, if I am not mistaken, is Yiddish for a fried turnover/dumpling filled with potato more often than not although there are a number of varieties that also include ground meat, spinach and other fillings. My favorite is the potato, slathered with lots of whole grain mustard. So after making this homemade mustard of sorts, I had to try it with something potato-y ... hence these Ginger Leek Potato Croquettes that fit beautifully in with the Royal Foodie Joust, paired amazingly well with the Fennel Pear Honey Mustard and, even more importantly, took care of my sudden craving for a knish ... which come to think about it I haven't had in years.

And just so you can understand how delicious these are: my son upon popping two in his mouth jumped up and exclaimed, "Mmmm, Mama! These are yummy in my tummy!" What can I say? The kid's got a distinguished palate ... and he's only three!

Ginger Leek Potato Croquettes with a Fennel Pear Honey Mustard

For 1 1/2 cups of mustard:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, cleaned, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 pears, peeled and diced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon thyme honey
Salt, to taste

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the fennel and pear over low heat until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and ground ginger and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more. Once done, place the contents of the skillet into the bowl of a food processor, add the mustard powder and honey and blend until pureed. Spoon the mustard into a bowl, let cool, then season with salt and store tightly covered in the refrigerator. The mustard is best made at least one day ahead, if not more.

For the Ginger Leek Potato Croquettes:

2 large potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and quartered
1 large leek, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
Pinch of grated ginger
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs (one for mixture, one for coating before frying)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Olive oil for frying

In a medium saucepan, place leeks and potatoes in enough water to cover and boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the cooking water then place saucepan with the leeks and potatoes briefly back over the heat to evaporate any excess water.

Transfer the potatoes and leeks to the bowl of a food processor along with the ginger, salt and pepper. Pulse until pureed then spoon the potato mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs and one egg, adding more breadcrumbs as necessary to more easily form the mixture into croquettes. If you have the time, place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for better handling. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and set aside. Heat about an inch of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. Wet your hands slightly and begin forming the potato mixture into croquettes, about one inch in diameter. Coat the croquettes in the egg and fry until golden on each side. Drain briefly on a plate lined with paper towel.

Serve hot or warm alongside the Fennel Pear Honey Mustard.


Mediterranean kiwi said...

running so low on time, you did well with this combination of ingredients - i'd love to try some of that mustard

Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88 said...

I have always wanted to try making croquettes but still not yet tried. Your combo is great, I should try to make mine soon.

theonikm said...

Mmmmm! Comfort food, indeed!

Ivy said...

The combination of ingredients sounds delicious. I haven't made croquettes for ages.

Peter G said...

Stunning flavours that really work well together. I'm not familiar with knish but could easily devour these. That mustard sounds divine too! Good luck in the Joust!

Anonymous said...

The mustard sounds outstanding and perfect to compliment the delicious croquettes!

tasteofbeirut said...

these croquettes are nothing short of sensational! I love the sauce that comes with it too. Very fancy and very good!

Velva said...

Fennel, pear and honey....what a wonderful flavor combination. Thanks for sharing.

FoodJunkie said...

This looks so Gourmet!I have never made croquettes, as I don't like frying things ( I love eating them though...), but they do look very inviting. And the mustard is just genius. Good luck at the Joust

Ben said...

Potato croquettes and cakes and fritters are my favorite. Great entry for the joust. Good luck!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I am amazed that you got these in there at the last minute! They look great! Thanks for an awesome entry!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Maria, the pear honey mustard sounds so good. You know it has been long since I started seeing the combination of fruits with veggies to make delicious tasting dishes. I love it. Great recipe.

Peter M said...

Kalo Mhna to you! These look like savory Loukoumades...very creative. Good luck in the Joust.

Muneeba said...

The croquettes look adorable, and just that combo of ginger, leek and potato is fantastic!

MaryAthenes said...

It looks wonderfull !

Hopie said...

Wow that sounds delicious! And perfect for the season. Comfort food with an exotic twist!

Pam said...

Beautiful blog!

Congrats on the Joust!


gastroanthropologist said...

I love your son - kids who eat all sorts of flavors are the best!
This sounds fennel pear honey mustard sounds like an amazing sauce. I'm imaging all the different things I could slather it on.

MOMO said...

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Maree said...

Wow, the pics in this post are as usual, so gorgeous. I'm going to try this out on the family for Christmas lunch (might give it a go on the weekend first). Thanks!