Contributed by Russ Rogers a.k.a. @v3rtig0
This recipe takes a good old Southern Mashed Potato recipe, makes it "loaded", and then creates crispy, fried croqettes from them. It takes a bit of time, mostly due to the croquettes need to be frozen a couple of times.
These croquettes are soft, fluffy, and rich flavored on the insides, and crispy on the outside. When they're steaming hot, they're a perfect comfort food for hackers. Try them with a dip, for added punch. Mayo/Sriracha combination, honey mustard, or even ranch dressing are good options.
Fryer with appropriate oil, heated to 350 degrees F, when needed.
Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them all into 1 inch squares or less. Rinse the potatoes briefly. Place the potatoes in a large pot of water, and bring to a boil. You can add salt if you, but I tend to add the salt to the mashed potatoes, once they're prepared. Boil the potatoes until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, finely dice the chives, and set aside for next step. Also grate the cheese, and set aside.
Strain the cooked potatoes, and then put back in the pot. Mash the potatoes
Add garlic powder, salt, butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, black pepper, and liquid smoke to the pot, and mix well. Check the texture, and taste. Adjust the texture with milk, until fairly creamy.
Spread the potatoes into a 9x13 pan (you can pre-grease with cooking spray if you want to make it a bit simpler to get the potato strips out, later. Spread to a depth of about 1/3 inch. You may need to use two pans.
Once spread out, put the potatoes into a freezer for a couple of hours, until they harden. Once hardened, pull out, and cut into strips, but don't remove, yet. Make each strip about 1/2 inch wide, and 3-4 inches long. Put back in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once completely frozen, you can pull the strips out, and place in a bowl to be used later.
You'll likely need about 5-6 large eggs beaten with a couple of tablespoons of milk, for the wash.
For the breadcrumb mixture, I used the pre-made crumbs from the store (with italian seasoning), and crush up some Club crackers and crushed up bacon (already cooked). Mix well. Leave the bacon out for a vegetarian option.
Take a strip of potatoes (still frozen) and roll in the egg bath. Then roll in the breadcrumb mixture until fully coated. Place in a pan to be re-frozen. Repeat this will all the strips, then return them to the freezer for another hour or so, to harden before frying.
Heat your oil to about 350 degrees. You can check the temperature of the oil, if you don't have a thermometer, by putting the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If the oil is ready, bubbles will form around the handle.
Cook 5 strips at a time, for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until golden brown. Place on a pan with paper towels, to remove excess oil. They're ready to eat at this point.
These can be eaten with a number of dips, including marinara, honey mustard, ranch dressing, or a mix of sriracha with mayonaise. Pretty much anything works. These croquettes are best hot, and can be re-heated in an oven. I really wouldn't microwave them, since they'll be soft, and you won't be able to pick them up by hand.