These croquetas de jamon were waiting in our Familia Kitchen inbox when we sat down to work this morning. Can you imagine a more delicioso way to start the day — any day — than with these creamy-savory-crunchy Cuban ham croquettes?
Us neither. So we imagined biting into a toasty-melty croqueta with a cafecito bien fuerte, and sat down to share this recipe with the world.
Mil gracias to Michelle Ezratty Murphy, one of our favorite Puerto Rican-food homecooks with a talent for all things criollo, for sending us this traditional Cuban recipe. Turns out she and her Puerto Rican husband, Pat, were in Miami visiting their son and daughter in law and couldn’t get enough of these crunchy-good ham croquettes.
“It’s is of our favorite Cuban street food staples,“ says Michelle. ”Eaten morning, noon and night, dipped in mayoketchup — (or not).” For those who don’t know, mayoketchup is a velvety pale-pink sauce something like Thousand Island dressing, but simpler. It’s made with equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup and is a must-have with lots of Caribbean-style beach snacks and french fries.
Back home in Arizona, Michelle set out to create her own version of this traditional Cuban treat. She had no choice, she says. ”I love croquetas de jamón and they aren’t very easy to find where we live. To satisfy my cravings, I decided to start making them myself.” With enorme success, it turns out. ”I love this recipe because of the creamy, smoky ham filling with a slight crisp outside. My family absolutely loves them. They taste and look authentic: Just the way they would be if you bought them in a Cuban bakery,” says Michelle.
As she loves to do, Michelle made enough for a crowd and invited friends over. “I served them to Cuban and Puerto Rican friends in Arizona. I knew these special island treats would make them happy!” And they did. The croquetas are a hit with their non-Latino friends, too. ”I’m also known for introducing Latin American food to our friends and neighbors so that they can taste the amazing flavors that they may have never tried before.”
These croquetas de jamon are going into regular rotation, Michelle reports. ”I plan on making these when I crave the flavors of food that I grew up with. Foods like this bring me back to my childhood in Puerto Rico, when they were always readily available. And of course I plan on serving these to our Cuban and Puerto Rican friends whenever they come over.“ Luckies.
Because: When you know you know!” says Michelle. “These ham croquettes are by far one of my favorite Cuban foods. Though I’d never pass up a really good Cubano [sandwich].”
To try more of Michelle and Pat’s friend-and-family-famous Puerto Rican and Cuban favorite recipes, check out their Familia Kitchen Grand Prize-winning Titi Rosa’s arroz con pollo, Cuban black bean soup, mojitos, tostones, ropa vieja and many more favorite dishes.
And how I think they taste the best.”