Arancini with Sweet Potato Fries

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Arancini with sweet potato fries

Arancini with Sweet Potato Fries

Arancini sounds really exotic doesn’t it? But in laymens terms, it’s risotto, made into balls, stuffed with mozzarella, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. They taste gorgeous and if you love tasty finger food, you’ll love this!

To accompany the aranacini, which on their own aren’t enough for a whole meal, I like to serve with some sweet potato fries. I prefer sweet potato rather than normal potato in this recipe because the arancini itself is quite starchy and full of carbs and the sweet potato is a lower carb alternative to ‘normal’ potatoes….

Preparation time
Cooking time

Risotto Rice
Chicken Stock
Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil

A bit of a weird one this dish because by making the making Arancini, you will have first prepared some cooked risotto, which in itself is a delicious, tasty meal. So, you must resist the temptation of eating the creamy risotto after cooking and before preparing of the arancini balls. But, trust me, it’ll be worth the endurance!

To get best results, I like to use my own chicken stock as well. This way I know EVERYTHING that goes into my dish. If you fancy having a crack at your own stock, it’s really easy; Save all the leftovers of a Sunday Roast Chicken: carcass, bones, skin etc. Chuck in a big saucepan, cover with water and add half a onion, a celery stick or carrot, peppercorns and any herbs and spices like rosemary or sage from the garden. Bring the pan to the boil, and then simmer for about 45 minutes, regulary turning the contents, and even whacking the bones a bit to release as much flavour as possible. Once done, allow to cool for a bit and pour through a sieve and then discard the bones and other bits. The liquid that is left is basically a stock, and perfect for this dish. I therefore try and coincide my making of arancini a day or two having had a chicken roast dinner.

To make the risotto, take another saucepan, add some butter, some garlic, chopped onion (very fine for this dish). Let these sweat down a little for a minute or so and then add a tiny drop of olive oil. Sweat slightly more, increase heat and add a glug of white wine. This is always difficult for me as I have to wrestle the white wine from my wife.

Let the rice start to absorb all the juices but don’t let all the liquid disappear. Just as it starts looking like it is all being absorbed or evaporating, start adding in the chicken stock, ladle by ladle. Now, this is the important bit: KEEP STIRRING. If you get distracted and take a call, go on social media for a minute or two etc, trust me, this dish is ruined. It’ll stick to the saucepan and will burn VERY quickly, ruining the dish before you’re even half way through. Just keep the pot topped up with stock, and keep turning.

After about 20-30 minutes or so, the risotto will start bulking out and you can take your first taste. You don’t want to over cook risotto like all our mothers would have because it then becomes too starchy and not great for an arancini. You need to aim for a little under down if anything. Just before when you think it’s going to be ready, add in another knob of butter and mix through. It adds a great layer of creaminess!

Allow the risotto to cool after removing from the heat. But, whilst still warm, then set up a few bowls on the counter: one full of breadcrumbs, one full of flour, and one with a beaten egg or two.

I’m going to be honest here and say that I don’t always use the flour and egg, which is intended to give a sticky caoting to the ‘ball’s in which to allow the breadcrumbs to bind. I tend to find that the risotto itself, if you can mould them whilst still quite warm, are still sticky enough to bind to breadcrumbs easily enough.

But nevertheless, you can go with my shortcut method or the official method if you want to be a boff, it’s up to you. You firstly need to roll a small handful of risotto in your (clean!) hands and make balls…a bit smaller than say a new potato. Make a dent or pit in the centre with your finger and in this, add some broken mozarella cheese. We use the light version with less fat. Then, remake and surround the cheese with the risotto so the ball is reformed and then dip these in the flour, egg and then breadcrumbs (or skip the first 2 and just go to breadcrumbs if you’re brave enough).

Once you’ve created all your balls, heat a deep fat fryer and once up to temperature, gently ‘drop’ the balls one by one in. I find, and again it depends on oil used, your fryer, temperature etc, than 5-6 minutes is about the optimum time to fry. You should see the breadcrumbs turning a lovely golden brown and don’t forget, the risotto has been cooked anyway so this part of the recipe is really about creating a crispy coating and melting the mozarella a tad.

Whilst all this is going on, you can be cooking your sweet potato fries. You can’t get much simpler than these…cut to a style you like after peeling…I have a potato crinkle cutter which makes them look like crisps or you can cut to the size and shape of a normal chip. And then either just fry these until nice and crisp, or, coat with a little salt and oil and whack in the oven at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning once or twice.

Once the arancini’s are ready, and the sweet potato’s too, serve with a dip, or a salad.

Tthere are lot’s of tips for this dish, starting firstly with the stock. Don’t get too hung up on having to use fresh, or indeed even chicken stock. Stock cubes will work just fine and a vegetable stock is also delicious.

Instead of white wine I have experimented and had some great results from red wine. It’ll leave the rice stained red, but this becomes a bit of a feature when a bite is taken from the arancini anyway.

And why stop at just having a mozzarella filling. This is indeed traditional, but ham, pea, chorizo and herbs could all be used too.

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