Back on the block, this was a singular dish, mainly for a celebratory occasion. It’s Croquetas de Carne  (Meat Croquettes). Usually, the  recipe is made with beef; but you can substitute ground pork, lamb , turkey or chicken. Any good grade of meat will do. In Nuyorican cuisine we serve the  dish with parsley potatoes or rice.  But whatever accompaniment you want with it, it’ll be a marvelous  and inexpensive banquet.

Note that the recipe calls for deep frying. Any good quality oil will do, be it canola, safflower or sunflower oil. In the old days, th  folks would use lard.  Also, I’ll say it front: this recipe takes time and patience. You have to cook the meat, chill it thoroughly, dip it in bread crumbs, chill again, and then deep fry. Yet the results will be splendid. That’s why, back in Spanish Harlem, it was a special dish.

CROUETAS DE CARNE   t    (Meat Croquettes)


4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
2 cups finely ground cooked beef
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Dry bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten and mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Oil for deep frying


  1.  Melt the butter in a large frypan or skillet. Add milk and cook over medium heat until very thick, stirring constantly. Add beef, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley and oregano. Place in refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
  2.  Remove from fridge and form into cylinders, pyramids or patties. While forming the croquettes it’s advisable to keep hands slightly wet. Dip into bread crumbs and then beaten egg. Dip into bread crumbs again. Place back in fridge and chill for 2 hours.
  3.  Fill a large skillet or fry pan with oil (by at least 1½-inches). Heat until very hot (385 degrees F.) and deep fry croquettes until brown.
    Yield: 4 servings.