White Pudding Croquettes

As it happens, I’ve never been a massive fan of potatoes. Shock horror.  I blame my childhood.  Endless evenings watching mum peeling and boiling spuds – the floury kind that stuck to the roof of your mouth.  The worst kind being the “first earlies” that would be steamed and eaten in their skins with only butter making them palletable. 

As it happens, I’ve never been a massive fan of potatoes. Shock horror.  I blame my childhood.  Endless evenings watching mum peeling and boiling spuds – the floury kind that stuck to the roof of your mouth.  The worst kind being the “first earlies” that would be steamed and eaten in their skins with only butter making them palletable. 

Mashed spuds were never really quite right, bereft as they were of any kind of milk or butter to make them creamy and I detested jacket spuds (I’m still not a fan to this day unless they are finished off on a barbeque…how utterly middle class of me).  Chips were great because they were always freshly hand cut, but they were a once-a-week treat on a Saturday. How I looked forward to that.

Our veg garden always had one open composting trench for chucking in raw kitchen waste.  The never ending conveyor belt of potato preparation generated buckets upon buckets of peelings, filling in those trenches faster than my green-fingered grandfather could keep up with digging new ones.  Or so it seemed to me.  You’d swear looking at the decomposing remains of vegetables in the trenches that potatoes were the only things we ate.  Felt like it sometimes, too.  And all this in a time before the wonder of sweet potatoes reached the average working class household in the 1980’s with which to break the monotony.

Living in Ireland and having an Irish husband has meant getting very creative about how to avoid eating potatoes five times a week.  Thankfully, we do like our Asian and Italian food in this house, along with grains and pulses which means sometimes we can go weeks without eating a single potato, or peeling one either, which is, frankly, a wonderful thing.  Though sometimes I can see that the prospect of a crispy roast potato once in a blue moon just isn’t cutting in with the husband, and so the realisation that I will soon be required to peel and cook potatoes sets in.  Add to that himself prefers spuds to come as creamy mash or roasted requiring extra effort, and I am sure you can hear me sigh and roll my eyes from wherever the heck you are!

However, I do love a potato croquette.  I first learned to make potato croquettes in Home Economics class in secondary school. Having never heard of potato croquettes before, less make and eat them, I had no idea what they were supposed to look or taste like.  Sneaking looks over at the others workstations to see if they too had understood the instruction to roll mash potato into a cylinder…?  According to the teacher they looked like they should and tasted nice too.  Victory was mine.

Fast forward err a number of years (cough), and maybe you can understand why I am happy enough to make a croquette.  The challenge for me now is to make them interesting.  One way I do this is to mix creamy mash potato in with white pudding and coat in thoroughly modern panko breadcrumbs before lightly frying.  It’s absolutely delicious, even if I do say so myself, but the important bit to getting something so simple right is choosing a really good white pudding.

For those outside of Ireland who may never have come across white pudding, the easiest way to describe it is as the polar opposite of black pudding.  It doesn’t contain blood and is mainly made with grains (oats and barley are popular), lightly spiced and mixed with pork meat and fat.  It’s really tasty and lacks the metallic tang of black pudding resulting in a more subtle pudding that is as versatile as its counterpart.

Martin Carey Butchers is a craft butcher, long established in the traditional market town of Bandon, West Cork.  I stumbled across his white pudding last year when I went to interview him for the local Opinion Magazine.  As with all craft butchers who make their own black and white pudding, his recipe is a closely guarded secret.  The look of it intrigued me.  I could see that there were good sized chunks of pork meat embedded in the pudding.  When cooking in the pan, it took on dark amber hue and glistened with epicurean promise!  In the mouth, the texture reflects the intermingling varieties of pork within the pudding itself.  The fat renders down in the cooking flavouring the meat and keeping everything deliciously moist while the pork meat, firmed up during the cooking process, holds everything together in a warm embrace.  Finally, the chunks of bacon inside give little spurts of bacony flavour with the saline overtones of their own signature cure.  I’ve tasted a lot of white puddings in the 10+ years of living in Ireland, and in this writers humble opinion this is the best I have come across…so far!

Back to the croquettes.  Mixing creamy mash with an intentionally over-generous amount of white pudding, fistfuls of freshly chopped parsley and a grandiose flourish of ground black pepper coated in panko breadcrumbs and lightly fried until golden and crispy is a tiny bit awesome!  Serve it up with thick hand cut pork chops and some pan fried apples and sage and what you have is a serious mouthful that will make you happy to be alive!  In the dying days of February, you need that in your life!

I’ve tried to translate this into a recipe below, but really the quantities are neither here nor there.   By eye or instinct will probably set you in better stead here, and there’s no harm if you have some mash left over – if you’re anything like my husband, it will never go to waste!


Ingredients (makes about 12 croquettes–ish):

  • 3-4 good sized floury spuds, washed, peeled and cut into equal thumb-sized pieces
  • 150g good quality white pudding (pick a good one)
  • 20g fresh parsley, curly or flat-leafed, finely chopped
  • Butter and milk
  • Panko beadcrumbs
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • 3 apples – tart ones
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • 1 thick hand-cut pork chop per person (about a 1.5 inch thick each – please don’t use the thin pre-packed ones from the supermarket – go to your butcher and have them cut specially for you).


  • Place the spuds in salted boiling water and cook through.  This will take between 5-10 from the time the water boils.  Make sure you don’t over cook or waterlog them.
  • Drain into a colander and allow to steam and cool uncovered.
  • Meanwhile, slice the white pudding into rounds and slowly cook in a pan over a medium heat, turning regularly until cooked and browned.
  • Transfer onto a plate with kitchen towel and allow to drain.
  • Mash the potatoes thoroughly and add butter and milk to enrich.  Mix the mashed potatoes together using a wooden spoon to bring everything together.
  • Add the white pudding and parsley.  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.  Place in the fridge for 30 to cool down enough to make into croquettes.
  • Whip the egg and set aside.  On two plates set out the flour and panko.
  • When the croquette mixture is cool enough, take an amount about the size of a golf ball and roll in your hands to make a round shape, and then roll it into a cylinder.
  • Repeat until you have all the croquettes you need. Set them aside.
  • In a frying pan, heat a small amount of oil and place the pork chops in the pan rind side down to render down the fat and crisp up.  Once that has happened, keep cooking the chops turning regularly.
  • In the last few minutes of cooking, add in your quartered and cored apples, the sage and a knob of butter to bring everything together.
  • Take out the chops to rest and continue to cook the apples and sage for another minute or two.
  • Meanwhile, in another pan heat some more oil on a medium-high heat and then add the croquettes.  Don’t turn for the first couple of minutes and then turn and cook on all sides until browned all over and hot throughout.
  • Plate up onto warm plates with your pork chop, apples and sage and your crispy croquettes.  Add some leafy greens and…ENJOY!

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