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You'd never guess this restaurant-worthy dish has VIENNA SAUSAGES! Visit GoodieGodmother.com for the recipe and creative process behind this Chopped-inspired dish! #bloggersCIC

The best way to grow is to challenge yourself to accomplish something just outside your comfort zone. I am constantly looking to grow my culinary skills, so when Tara at An Aiming High Wife mentioned she was hosting a Chopped Challenge, I decided to sign up and create something amazing out of at least one improbable ingredient.

All participants in the challenge had to submit a list of three ingredients. From that list, one ingredient was selected to go in the “basket” after groups were randomly drawn. I knew most bloggers were probably going to make safe choices, ingredients that could easily be used in a variety of dishes, but I didn’t want safe. I really enjoy watching the Food Network’s Chopped Challenge because the chefs really work to transform some unique basket ingredients, so I came up with the most random list I could, and Vienna sausages were the first thing that came to mind. I think it’s because I have memories of my dad enjoying them as a snack when I was younger. He had them when he was a kid, so it was a nostalgia thing for him. My mother just worried about the sodium content back then. Times have changed!

My other basket ingredient for the challenge were beets, jam, and rice. I originally planned to candy the Vienna sausages and make a sweet rice pudding, but I thought that wouldn’t be unique enough since I wouldn’t be doing much to the jam. Then I planned to make a rice ball or steamed rice packet, but I wanted to make a recipe I thought at least one of you, my lovely readers, would want to try, AND I wanted it to look like something you’d find at a trendy restaurant. Making not-so-foodie ingredients upscale has kind of been the range recently, hasn’t it?

You'd never guess this restaurant-worthy dish has VIENNA SAUSAGES! Visit GoodieGodmother.com for the recipe and creative process behind this Chopped-inspired dish! #bloggersCIC

Anyway, I decided the best plan of attack, as it is on the real Chopped show, was to draw from my own culinary background and create from there. One of the dishes I always knew growing up was the croqueta or croquette. It’s a finger food common in Spanish tapas and served at most Cuban restaurants as an appetizer with crackers. They’re usually savory and contain ham or cheese. I actually have a recipe up for ham croquetas here (on the queue for new photos if you’re wondering). Because I needed something to help me transform the flavor of the Vienna sausages from “canned meat” to “delicious”, I decided to add rice to my croquette, a little like an Italian arborio rice ball. But I wasn’t going to use cheese, so it’s still more croquette than arancini. Two of four ingredients down.

The beets and jam still needed to be incorporated into the dish. Originally I thought about a dipping sauce, but the croquettes I know don’t usually come with a dipping sauce. They’re served over something else or eaten alone. I adore beets, and chose to play up the color and flavor by making a raw beet slaw instead. It provided a sweet savory pairing to the croquettes when eaten in a single bite on a fork, but both components of the dish were still strong enough to stand on their own. That’s a Chopped-worthy dish, my darlings!

You'd never guess this restaurant-worthy dish has VIENNA SAUSAGES! Visit GoodieGodmother.com for the recipe and creative process behind this Chopped-inspired dish! #bloggersCIC

I tested this dish on the rest of la familia, and both the small one (human, dog didn’t get any) and the Godfather were happy! A wanted her own croquette to carry around and made a mess eating her beet slaw, and the Godfather said he never would have guessed I put Vienna sausages in the croquettes. He loved the flavor with the slaw.

You'd never guess this restaurant-worthy dish has VIENNA SAUSAGES! Visit GoodieGodmother.com for the recipe and creative process behind this Chopped-inspired dish! #bloggersCIC

Now the question is… what do you think? Would this dish move me to the next round (there isn’t one haha) or would I be CHOPPED? Check out all the other bloggers and vote for your favorite by visiting the link up here!

Chopped Challenge: Vienna Sausage Croquettes and Beet Slaw
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
You'd never guess this restaurant-worthy dish has VIENNA SAUSAGES! Today's Chopped-inspired dish takes unlikely ingredients to the next level.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
Vienna Sausage Croquettes
  • ½ cup cooked medium grain rice, cooled*
  • ½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces (1 can) Vienna sausages
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
  • 1.5-2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3-4 cups oil for frying


Beet Slaw
  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp blackberry jam
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the flour. Keep stirring for about a minute.
  2. Slowly add the milk and cream, stirring to incorporate and make a nice smooth roux.
  3. Add your spices, the rice and chopped Vienna sausages and cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently. It should be rather thick.
  4. Set it aside to cool while you make the slaw.
  5. Make the slaw by placing the peeled and grated beets in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a smaller bowl until well combined. Pour over the beets and stir to combine. Set aside or refrigerate until it's time to serve.
  6. Place the oil in a frying pan and place over medium heat. Set up your prep station with a beaten egg in one bowl, breadcrumbs in another, a place to put the shaped croquetas before cooking, and a paper towel lined cookie sheet or plate to drain the cooked croquetas.
  7. Take about a tablespoon and a half of the rice and sausage mixture, shape it into a disc, dip it in the egg mixture, coat in the breadcrumbs, and set aside. Repeat until you've used all the rice mixture.
  8. Fry the croquetas in batches for about 3-4 minutes each (about 2 minutes per side) and set on a paper towel to drain. Lower the heat if the croquetas are browning too quickly.
  9. To serve, place ½-3/4 cup of the slaw on a plate and top with a warm croquette. Garnish with fresh chives if desired. Serve immediately
Notes
*If you don't have cooked rice on hand, take ¼ cup medium grain rice and cook in ½ cup water with a pinch of salt.
 

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