These Chorizo Arancini are little handfuls of Spanish inspired risotto, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried to golden perfection. They make an amazing appetiser or snack.
Ok, so I need to come clean with you. I made this before Christmas and I’m only just posting it now. I’m sorry, I’m sorry but it was just so hectic before Christmas. What with work and, at home, organising Christmas presents and food and a wedding. I just ran out of time to post anything. Don’t even get me started. A food blogger that didn’t post at Christmas. Grrrrr. And I had so much planned too. Oh well! I’m new to this blogging thing so it’s tough to juggle it all but I’m determined to do it and still share yummy recipes with you even if they are late. I mean really late. Oops. I promise these Chorizo Arancini are worth the wait 🙂
Just before Christmas we had a get-together with some friends where everyone was taking along a dish. We were set the task of bringing a rice dish. I was a bit lost to be honest. I like rice but not cold and for some reason all that would come to my tiny little brain was a cold rice salad. Eewww. Not my thing. Then I started thinking what hot dishes I could do and I could only come up with Fried Rice. Boring! I have no idea why but it took so long but I had a light-bulb moment on the way to breakfast one morning. It should have been completely obvious all along. How did I not immediately think ARANCINI!! That’s how these Chorizo Arancini were born.
Ok, so in the past I haven’t been a great lover of Arancini. Whenever I’ve had them in the past they are dry or greasy and normally pretty bland. But it turns out I think I just hadn’t had a good one yet. I mean they sound promising right? How could it be wrong to turn risotto (which I loooooove) into a ball and deep fry it? All the necessary components are right there. Cheesy, ricey, deep fried goodness, all in handy little ball. So I searched around for recipes and everywhere I looked, they looked delicious and not at all to what I’ve eaten before.
Then I started thinking of what flavour to do. Ok, so the end result is not a typical Italian Arancini but what it is, is AWESOME. I’ve made a couple of little changes, one being by adding the Spanish flavour of chorizo which goes perfectly with the saffron already in most Arancini recipes. Then mix that Spanish with the Italian mozzarella and risotto and, hey presto! Chorizo Arancini.
I like to grate the mozzarella (as opposed to hiding a big chunk of it in the middle). You still get the stringiness of the mozzarella and the cheesy flavour but the rice seems to stay a better texture when reheating them by having the mozzarella dispersed throughout the whole ball. With the mozzarella in the middle which is a little more traditional, I find the rice can have a drier texture if you reheat them.
For coating, homemade breadcrumbs are definitely the best option, providing more texture and crunch. They’re simple to make too. If you must use store-bought, use panko instead.
Anyway, whichever way you choose, these got rave reviews at our get-together and I know you’ll love them too.
And now for the long awaited recipe. Please enjoy in vast quantities 🙂
- 3/4 chorizo chopped finely
- 1/2 tablespoon oil (note 1)
- 3/4 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 Pinch saffron (about 10 threads)
- 2 1/2 cups (625ml) chicken stock
- 20 g parmesan finely grated
- 60 g mozzarella, grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (note 1)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- Vegetable or rice bran oil for deep frying (not olive oil)
- Lightly fry the chorizo until just cooked through
- Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Keep the lid on so that it doesn’t evaporate but always keep it warm to add to the rice.
- Add the oil to a frypan and cook onion, garlic and celery over los-medium heat until softened. Try not to let it colour.
- Add the rice to the onion mixture and cook, stirring for about a minute. The rice should look a little glassy. Add the saffron and season with a little salt & pepper.
- Add a ladleful (about 125ml/1/2 cup) of the simmering stock to the rice mixture and stir constantly until the rice has absorbed all the stock. Continue to add the stock, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful, for about 15 minutes or until the rice is just tender - but firm (al dente), not mushy. The risotto should look creamy. If it is still too firm, add a little water at a time, allowing it to absorb before testing again.
- Stir in the parmesan & chorizo. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until completely cool Once cooled add 1 egg, the parsley and the mozzarella and stir until well combined.
- Place the breadcrumbs and flour in separate bowls. Whisk the remaining egg in a third bowl. Shape 3 tablespoons of the risotto mixture into a ball (I found a medium sized ice cream scoop to be perfect). Repeat with the remaining risotto mixture and mozzarella to make 12 balls.
- Roll the risotto balls in the flour, then the egg, then lastly the breadcrumbs. Sit the balls on a baking tray and pace in the fridge to chill for half and hour. This is so they don't fall apart as soon as you put them in the oil.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan to about 5cm depth. Heat the oil to 190C over medium-high heat.Place 4-5 arancini balls in the hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes, until they are deep golden in colour. Transfer to a wire rack over some paper towel to drain. Repeat until all arancini balls are done.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon
- This recipe can be easily doubled to make 24 arancini for a party.
More great finger food ideas ….