Them Welsh Rissoles (parte deux)

March 19, 2020

Since we are facing a potential lockdown situation in Wales and like most of Europe, our stores are struggling to fill shelves emptied by panic-buyers, there exists the very real prospect of families calling upon skills not seen in the last 30 or 40 years. Menu choices are likely to be driven by ‘whats in the larder’ rather than ‘whats in the supermarket’.

A popular dish in South Wales is the rissole. Introduced by the Italian influx in the 17th century, it is a ball of boiled onion and mashed potato seasoned with parsley or thyme covered in breadcrumbs and then fried until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.


Once the crumb is covered then can be refrigerated and eaten cold or reheated in a microwave or pan with a little oil. Made in batches they can been frozen too.

Here is my Zombie Apocalyse Guide to Welsh (Italian) Rissoles. I say somewhat tongue in cheek purely because our local supermarket was wiped clean of potatoes, dehydrated mash, corned beef, frozen mash, fresh onions, shallots, spring onions, leeks, frozen onions, stuffing and so on. All the alternative ingredients.

I was fortunate to bag the last two bags of frozen creamed mash at my local convenience store and upon investigation found the emergency bag of frozen chopped onions. Further sleuthing and a solitary can of corned beef was apprehended at the back of the tins cupboard.

So armed with mash potato, chopped onions I combined both in a large bowl adding generous quantities of herbs, in my case parsley and mixed herbs, together with a good pinch of salt. When thoroughly combined I put the bowl in the fridge and left everything rest for a couple of hours.

As I was making corned beef and a vegetarian version, I separated the filling into two bowls. For the veggie version I used a mature Red Leicester cheese. I managed to get a large block whilst shopping and it was quite frugal. I cut about a 1/5th of the block (this isn’t an exact science) and grated the cheese with the coarse side of a box grater. Again when I had combined the cheese and potato mixture I allowed the mixture to rest for a while (it so happens I had other things to do – you don’t really need a lot of resting time but it does help the flavours).

Same for the corned beef version. Corned beef as long as I can remember is the traditional version. Having said that, I have eaten rissoles made from beef mince, sausage meat, lamb (need to add mint) and even chicken tikka. This wonderful dish

can be adapted in so many ways its truly a use what you got kind of dish!

For the covering you need flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs (my favourite are golden breadcrumbs). I used an ice cream scoop to make a ball of mix which was doused in flour, dipped in egg, and rolled in breadcrumbs. Again breadcrumbs are not necessarily in the average larder these days. Stale bread blitzed in a food processor then placed on a baking tray into a moderate oven for a couple of minutes and you have a rudimentary breadcrumb. You could also use Tortilla chips crushed.

The covered rissole is best left in the fridge for a while at this point. When rested you will need to cookoff the breadcrumb.

Traditionally flash fried in a deep fat fryer at 190C or above. Again not many people have these so you could bake then making sure the breadcrumb has a good soak of cooking oil spray (either 1cal or oil in a kitchen sprayer). 200C for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Air fryers are great for this; just ensure you have preheated the fryer and have spray-oiled the basket as well as the rissoles. 15 minutes at 200C – beautiful!

Delicious hot or cold