Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the flour and stir for a minute or two, or until the mixture is dry and crumbly in texture.
Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the chicken stock.
Return to the heat and gradually add the milk, whisking all the time.
Add the bay leaf, dijon mustard, cream and parmesan cheese.
Cook, stirring all the time, for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Add the lemon juice, taste and add seasoning if needed.
Remove from the heat , remove the bay leaf and set aside.Filling:
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan.
Add the onion, garlic and bacon and cook for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.
Add the chicken, breaking up any chunks with a fork or back of a spoon, and fry until the chicken changes colour and just cooked through , season to taste.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Wash the spinach and cook in about 4 tablespoons of water for about 5 minutes or till the spinach has wilted completely.
Set aside and once cool enough to touch, squeeze the spinach to release any excess water and roughly chop into small pieces.
Add the cooked chicken and chopped spinach to the béchamel sauce.
Mix well, season to taste.
Cover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours or until the mixture is completely cooled and firm enough to mould.
Divide the filling into 24 portions and roll into small croquette shapes (about 4 -5 cm long).
Combine the breadcrumbs and ground almonds.
Lightly coat the croquettes in the flour, then dip into the beaten egg and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
Place the croquettes in the fridge till ready to be fried.
Deep-fry the croquettes in oil for about 2-3 minutes or until they turn golden.
The oil should be heated to about 180°C. You don’t want the oil too hot or else the outside will brown too quickly and the inside will still be cold.
Fry croquettes in batches and drain on paper towelling, serve immediately with wedges of lemon.
Reprinted with permission of Foodmonger.
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