A little while back, John suggested that I write a post about how to transform leftovers into a different meal.
This means that he:
a) thinks I’m creative in the kitchen
b) thinks we eat too many leftovers.
Either way, I though it was a good idea. Ironically enough, I made these croquettes on a night that he was out at a business dinner. On these occasions, I either make myself a quick & simple meal or choose a recipe that I know John wouldn’t like. These Wild Rice & Sweet Potato Croquettes fall into the former category, as they are a cinch to put together if you have the necessary leftovers on hand. Even if you don’t, the croquettes are easy to make – but just be sure to set aside plenty of time for the rice to cook and the potatoes to bake.
Well-suited either as an accompaniment to roast meat or as a main course of a vegetarian meal, these croquettes are also easily customizable. Any type of cooked rice would work, as would leftover mashed baby red or yukon gold potatoes. The add-ins are subject to alterations, as well. Not a fan of onions? Omit them. Pecans or walnuts not your favorite type of nut? Chopped almonds or pistachios would be a delicious substitution. You can also experiment with different types of seasoning: a pinch of cinnamon and/or nutmeg pairs nicely with sweet potatoes, and regular ol’ spuds welcome pretty much any spice (think cumin & cayenne pepper, curry powder & turmeric, rosemary & thyme, etc.).
On whim, I served my croquettes with a bit of cranberry sauce, but either a dollop of Greek yogurt or a spoonful of mashed avocado would be a tasty alternate accompaniment. That being said, the croquettes (which are the consistency of Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers – in other words, very soft and delicate) are delicious all on their own, so there’s no need to serve them with a condiment.
Wild Rice & Sweet Potato Croquettes
- 1 cup leftover mashed sweet potato puree (my preferred method is to bake the potatoes for about 1 hour at 400 degrees F, or until very soft, and then pulse the flesh in a food processor)
- 1 cup leftover cooked wild rice (cooked according to package directions)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
- 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs (pulse slightly stale bread in food processor until coarse crumbs form)
- 2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- olive oil, for shallow pan-frying
- cranberry sauce, for serving (optional)
- In a large bowl, stir together the sweet potato puree through green onions until well-mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Evenly divide sweet potato mixture into 4 equal portions and form each into a 1-inch thick patty.
- *See note below.
- Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. You want enough oil to just barely cover the bottom of the pan. Carefully place the croquettes into the pan and let cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden.
- Gently flip croquettes (they are soft, and fall apart easily) and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until golden.
- Serve warm, with cranberry sauce if desired.
*NOTE: I originally wrote the recipe to include a “dredging” step, in which the formed croquettes are coated in flour before pan-frying. I overlooked this step while making the croquettes, but I think the flour would form a nice crisp crust and serve as an additional binder – therefore rendering the croquettes less likely to fall apart. Likewise, you could also toss in a beaten egg (or a “flax egg“) to help bind together the sweet potato and rice.