Risoles (risole is the singular) are one of our best food memories from out time in Brazil. That’s saying something, because there was no shortage of spectacularly good food. Risoles are a form of croquette. They are deep-fried, crispy little bites of heaven. Or about 2-3 bites, usually with a creamy filling; shrimp, hearts of palm, cheese, etc. But they are the stuff of dreams. You can use meat or whatever filling that’s firm enough to wrap the dough around. The filling, usually with a creamy filling with a bèchamel base that uses shrimp, hearts of palm, cheese, etc. It’s the dough that will throw you. It’s totally different from what we usually think of as pastry. It’s a cooked pastry, more of a thick paste, kind of like paté choux, but with no eggs. Yeah, The Goddess is aware that eating paste ended in kindergarten, but you’ll have to trust her; this isn’t that kind of paste. When stuffed and fried, these become crisp on the outside with a creamy, delectable filling. You’ll keep reaching for just one last risole…okay, maybe one more…yum…yeah, but this is absolutely the last one…you’ll see how this goes….
Risoles are great, because everything is made ahead and ultimately they are really quite simple to prepare. The Goddess, on one of her whims, decided to do this one afternoon. From start to finish, it took less than an hour, not counting chilling time. And if you need help filling them, when one of The Progeny wanders by, rope him in to help with the stuffing process. But, you can make them the day ahead, cover them well and there they are, in the fridge, all ready to fry. You can even fry them ahead of time, because many times they are served at room temperature or just warm room temperature, which makes them perfect party food. The Goddess kept some overnight and fried them the next morning for breakfast…very yummy, they were. (Yeah, every now and then, she slips into Yoda-speak!)
Here they are served with a salad and a nice Guava Dipping Sauce. We’ll have to give you that recipe later. It’s delicious to dip savory things in, drizzle over salmon, smear on a grilled cheese, with risoles, a spoon, your finger….
Risoles Brasileiros (Brazilian Turnovers)
For the Dough:
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup beer or additional milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups flour
- Filling of choice (see recipes below)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I use slightly crushed panko)
- Vegetable oil for frying
Place milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring just to a boil, then slowly stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until you have a stiff batter. Continue to stir over heat for 1-2 minutes more, until well mixed. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Knead the dough lightly on a counter top, adding a little more flour if necessary, until smooth. Let cool until just warm; wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerator for a couple of hours. Colder dough seems to roll more easily.
Once both the dough and filling have completely cooled, roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick. The dough is easier to roll between sheets of plastic wrap, but you can roll on floured surface. Cut the dough into round 3-4 inch circles. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of you filing of choice, into dough rounds. Fold the dough over forming a half-moon shape. Pinch edges together to seal completely. They stick together quite well. Place them on a large parchment or plastic wrap-covered cookie sheet, not touching each other.
In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs together with the water. Place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.
Dip each pastry into the egg wash, and then into the bread crumbs. You may return them to the cookies sheet.
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F. Fry the risoles in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Risoles may be prepared and breaded, then refrigerated for several hours (or up to 24 hours) before frying. May be or reheated in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes.
- 1 1/2-2 cups diced cooked chicken (a rotisserie chicken works great)
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons finely minced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated fontina or Muenster cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until very finely chopped, but not a paste. You may finely mince it by hand, if you prefer.
In a saucepan, sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper in the butter or oil until soft and fragrant. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the broth and cook, stirring until the it thickens. Add the shredded chicken, and continue to cook, stirring, until most of the liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Stir in the milk and cook until mixture is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool and chill.
NOTE: I’ve used cooked fish (tilapia or turbot work well), make the recipe as is, but stirred the fish in at the end, with the cheeses.
- 1 pound of raw shrimp, finely chopped*
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup milk or shrimp broth
- 1/4 teaspoon South Shore Seasoning or Old Bay (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
*You may use part shrimp, crabmeat (well-drained) and/or finely minced imitation crab, so the total weight is about 1 lb.
Cook the onions in the butter, over medium-low heat. Add the finely chopped shrimp. Cook for 1 minute, then sprinkle the flour over the shrimp and stir the mixture until well combined. Stir in the milk and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp just becomes pink and the mixture has thickened. Add lemon juice and parsley flakes. Season salt & pepper to taste, adding the chile flakes, if desired. Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes, then place in a container and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. If the mixture seems too thick, thin with additional milk, adding it 1 tablespoon at a time.
Hearts of Palm Filling:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 thin slices prosciutto, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 can hearts of palm, very well-drained and finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (use more or omit…it’s up to you)
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup warmed whole milk
- 12 black olives, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese (fontina, or farmer’s cheese can be used)
Melt butter and oil in a skillet on medium heat. Sauté prosciutto pieces until crispy; remove to paper towels. Add the onions and sugar to the skillet, lower the heat and sauté until golden and translucent; don’t brown the onions. Add the hearts of palm and sprinkle with the garlic granules; sauté a 1-2 minutes more. Stir in the flour; add the milk. Cook, over low heat, stirring, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; add the lemon juice, the olives, cheese and crispy prosciutto bits. Set aside to cool. Pour into a container, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture and chill.
Risoles Brasileiros (Brazilian Turnovers) Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
So we’ve rolled out the dough, cut it and now we’re ready to fill them. I found it was easier to roll the dough between sheets of plastic wrap, which stick very nicely to a granite counter top, if you have one. I found the circles of dough “peeled” off the plastic wrap easier than off the granite, even when the surface was floured. You’ll take your chilled filling and plop a spoonful in the center, leaving a bit of an edge. Then, you simply enclose the filling and gently press the edges together. There’s no need for water to seal them; they are self-sealing! I put them on plastic, because I was going to bread them and fry them immediately after making them. Then I dipped them in the egg wash and rolled them in slightly crushed up panko crumbs. Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures of that little step, probably because my hands were a mite sticky! Heat oil in a deepish cast iron skillet or heavy pan. When the oil temp is at 350°F, gently slide 4 or 5 risoles in. They will cook quickly, because all you are doing is browning the outside. The dough and the filling is already cooked. Each batch took no more than 2 minutes, total time, to fry. Drain them well on paper towels. Serve now, serve later, but you will need to try one…quality control is every so important! This is one of the Risoles de Camaraõ, (Shrimp Risole).