Makes about 16-24 balls, depending on size
You can imagine that thrifty cooks might have used these tangy croquettes to repurpose a meal of pork roast and sauerkraut generations ago, binding the main ingredients with leftover mashed potatoes or breadcrumbs. They’re worth making from scratch. This is an ideal appetizer, especially for game day, served with mustard for dipping. Be sure to take some time to squeeze the kraut dry. It makes a difference in the balls’ final texture.
3/4 lb. leftover pork chops or pork roast, ground coarsely in the food processor or chopped fine by hand (You can substitute chopped cooked bratwurst, about three links worth, or even shredded corned beef)
4 tbsp. grated yellow or white onion
1 14-oz. can sauerkraut, drained, squeezed as dry as you can manage, and chopped fine
2 tbsp. breadcrumbs or dried potato flakes
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground white pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 tsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 heaping tsp. stone-ground mustard
Breading and frying
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
½ tsp. of kosher salt
¼ tsp. of ground white pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Mix all the ingredients for the balls in a large bowl until well combined. (Clean hands do the best mixing.) Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the mixture is firm enough to work with, shape your walnut-sized balls. I use a small cookie scoop to ensure they are all the same size, then roll them with slightly moistened hands to make them round. You can wrap and freeze the mixture for future balls, so I often make a double batch of the blend and freeze half to save time for the next event.
In a shallow bowl, blend the eggs with milk. Place the flour in another shallow bowl and the breadcrumbs in a third to create a breading station. Season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.
Dredge the balls in the flour, roll them in the egg mixture, then coat them in the breadcrumbs. Arrange them on a sheet pan as you bread them. Heat about a half-inch of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pan-fry the balls in batches, browning on all sides, about 3-4 minutes. You can also deep-fry at 350 degrees if you prefer. Drain on paper towels on a rack over a sheet pan. Hold uncovered in a 200-degree oven until it is time to serve. Serve with mustard for dipping, or make a mustard sauce with whole grain mustard, sour cream, lemon zest and chopped chives.