Be traditionally southern while taking a healthier twist

Yankee Chef logoBy Jim Bailey

Jezebel Sauce is a southern condiment usually reserved for the holidays and served on baked ham or even warm, melted Brie cheese.

Consider it a perfect accompaniment to this delicious take on a traditional croquette. Normally deep fried, these croquettes are almost the same thing, but without any added fat as a binder or any that may be absorbed from cooking.

6 ounces smoked ham of your choice
1/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 cup shredded, mild Cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs, divided *
1/4 cup minced, fresh apple(eat the rest)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Jezebel Sauce:
1/2 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well
1 cup apple jelly
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish (see NOTE)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons oil for grilling

Pulse the ham and vegetables in a blender or food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add cheese, 3/4 cup of the bread crumbs, apple, egg, garlic and black pepper. Mix thoroughly and divide into eight equal-sized mounds.

Roll croquette mixture between the palms of your hands to make a ball, then roll in remainder of bread crumbs; set aside in refrigerator while making Jezebel sauce.

To make sauce, simply add pineapple, jelly, horseradish and mustard in a small saucepan and whisk as smooth as possible. Place over low heat to get hot while making croquettes.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. When ready, remove croquettes from refrigerator and flatten to 1/2-inch thick. Carefully place in hot oil and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned.

Remove to serving dishes and top with hot Jezebel sauce.

* Simply take 2 slices fresh bread and cut into the smallest possible cubes using a large, non-serrated or chefs knife.

NOTE: If you don’t care to use horseradish, omit it and the dry mustard and replace with 1 teaspoon of your favorite spicy mustard.

Enough for 8 (2-inch) appetizer croquettes.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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