Coxinha are delicious chicken croquettes that you can find in almost every bar and casual eatery in Brazil. It is the Portuguese word for “little chicken thigh” although these canapés are pear shaped and often served in portions the size of an average pear. I prefer the tiny coxinhas.

To me these are the perfect winter canapé, eaten in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine and good company. They are extremely more-ish and deceptively easy to pop into your mouth, but then again, that is what evenings in front of the fireplace is for, isn’t it?

3 chicken breasts

1 litre stock, water and instant stock is fine in this case

1 small onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

30ml vegetable oil

375ml milk

50g butter

450g cake flour

a small handful fresh parsley

salt and pepper

Pour the stock into a large saucepan, immerse the chicken breast and cook until done.

Cool slightly and chop the chicken into small pieces.

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft and set aside.

Pour 375ml of the cooking stock into a measuring jug and discard the rest.

Pour the 375ml stock back into the saucepan, add 375ml milk as well as the butter. Heat the mixture and allow the butter to melt.

Beat the flour, a little at a time, into the liquid and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.

Turn the dough out onto a plate until it is cool enough to handle, but as warm as possible. Do not let it become too cool as you need the steam/heat to help create the elasticity in the dough.

Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. It should be smooth and elastic.

Pinch off lumps of dough and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball in the palm of your hand by pushing it into a circle with you thumb.

Add the cooked onion and garlic to the chopped chicken and season with salt, pepper and herbs.

Spoon a teaspoon full of the chicken mixture into each flattened ball, which now resembles a shell, bring up the edges all around and pinch the dough together to form a seal.

Shape each bundle into a small pear shape and place on a lined baking tray.

To fry:

2l vegetable oil

250ml milk

200g very fine breadcrumbs

1 egg

Beat the egg with the milk and pour the mixture into a shallow dish.

Add the breadcrumbs to another shallow dish.

Now proceed by first dipping a coxing into the egg mixture, then covering it in breadcrumbs and then leaving it to stand on a lined baking tray.

Heat the oil to 180℃ . The oil is ready when you drop a piece of dough into it and it immediately sizzles and turns brown

Deep fry about 5 croquettes at a time for approximately 5 minutes or until they are a beautiful golden colour.

Keep the fried coxinhas warm in an oven at 100℃ while you fry the rest.

Serve warm.

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