(Brazilian deep-fried chicken croquettes)
These little drumstick-shaped treats are a favorite snack in Brazil. Shredded chicken and cheese are encased in a flavorful dough and the coxinhas are then deep fried to a crispy, crunchy golden-brown. The word coxinhas is Portuguese for "little thighs," a reference to their shape.
Makes about 12 coxinhas
- Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless -- 1 pound
- Water -- 3 cups
- Salt -- to season
- Oil -- 2 tablespoons
- Onion, finely chopped -- 1
- Tomato, seeded and chopped -- 1 cup
- Cream cheese -- 1/2 cup
- Flour -- 2 cups
- Oil -- 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Eggs, beaten -- 2
- Fine breadcrumbs - 1 1/2 cups
- Oil for deep frying
- Heat the chicken breasts, water and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken and reserve the poaching liquid. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers.
- Clean out the saucepan, add the 2 tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high flame. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the tomato and cook down for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken, salt and pepper and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is cooked away. Remove from heat, stir in the cream cheese and adjust seasoning to taste.
- In another saucepan, mix 2 cups of the reserved broth with the flour, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper and stir together until smooth. Then set the saucepan over medium flame and cook, stirring constantly, until the batter forms a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Chill the dough and chicken for at least an hour.
- Flatten a golf ball-sized piece of dough into a round. Place a tablespoon of the chicken filling in the middle of the round and bring the sides of the dough up to encase the filling. Shape the dough into a little drumstick, making sure to seal the dough around the filling. Set aside on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Set up one bowl with the beaten eggs and another with the breadcrumbs. Take a coxinha and dip it in the beaten egg and let the excess drip off. Then roll it in the breadcrumbs and set it on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining coxinhas.
- Heat the oil on a deep fryer or heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep saucepan or pot over medium flame to about 365°F. Deep fry the coxinhas in batches until golden brown on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel-lined serving tray as you finish the remaining batches. Serve hot.
- The type of cheese used for coxinhas in Brazil is called Catupiry and is similar to American cream cheese. Definitely use it if you can find it.
- Eliminate the tomatoes from the filling if you like.
- Add a squeeze of lime to the filling for extra flavor