The crispy quinoa crust surrounding these arancini contrasts well against the soft starchy risotto, and the garlic butter within brings extra flavour. Packed with nutritious grains, these arancini, commonly referred to as risotto balls, make great use of left over risotto.
It seems an age since I last shared a savoury recipe here on Only Crumbs Remain. In fact it is an age. To be specific it's almost 6 weeks since I wrote about our No-Knead Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia! Yes, there seems to have been a whole 6 weeks where I've simply baked, written about and shared a plethora of desserts and cupcakes! But do rest assured, Mr E & I haven't just been living off those 'naughty but nice' bakes, we have rustled up savoury meals everyday just like every household we know. So wanting to balance things out a little between all of those sweet calories, here is a dish which makes perfect use of left over risotto resulting in an easy to make light lunch.
The risotto and mozzarella croquettes which I made earlier in the year were a huge hit with both Mr E & I. The stretchy mozzarella hidden inside was fabulous. So wanting to re-create something similar we decided to make some 'kiev' style risotto balls.
Just imagine breaking the crispy shell of the arancini (risotto ball) for the lovely garlicky butter to ooze out (sorry, this image doesn't capture the garlic butter very well). Not only does the garlic butter provide extra flavour to the risotto, but it also helps to keep the risotto moist and glaze any salad leaves which may be sat alongside. I decided to make the garlic butter at home rather than purchasing a block from the supermarket. After adding a single teaspoon of garlic puree to the softened butter the mixture seemed quite pungent which left me thinking that any potential visitors would be found sitting as far away from us as possible. Surprisingly, once the risotto balls had been cooked the garlic flavour had calmed down enormously, and was certainly not strong enough to repel any vampires! Although Mr E & I don't care for our meals to be overly garlicky we have made a mental note to add a little more to the mixture the next time we have Arancini Kievs for lunch.
Often savoury dishes like these arancini / risotto balls are coated in breadcrumbs before cooking, but wanting to add some extra nutrition to our meal I decided to use some pre-cooked quinoa grains. The shaped risotto balls were double dipped in a mixture of equal parts quinoa to breadcrumbs. The double dipping helped to produce a strong, crisp shell and prevented the garlic butter from escaping whilst they cooked. The quinoa gave a great texture to the arancini / risotto balls, providing a welcome crunch which contrasted nicely to the soft starchy risotto.
The shop bought ready cooked quinoa made preparing these arancini even easier. There was no need to cook the grain (which isn't difficult though) or worry about any slightly damp quinoa spoiling the crust. Just a quick open of the packet and a stir through with the breadcrumbs cut the preparation time down. But having used only half of Merchant's red & white quinoa you may be in need of a little inspiration for how the remaining grains can be used. Below is a varied range of delicious vegetarian recipes featuring quinoa, courtesy of some great food bloggers. (NB one or two of the recipes below start with raw quinoa, therefore if using a pre-cooked grain you will need to omit their step for cooking it. Also the tabbouleh accompanies a lamb dish but the two recipes are clearly separated in terms of ingredients & method.)
Pomegranate & Quinoa Tabbouleh,
image & recipe courtesy of Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie.
image & recipe courtesy of Mandy Mazliah / Metro.co.uk
Blueberry Muffins with Quinoa & Wheatgerm,
from Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes.
image & recipe also from Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes.
Spelt & Quinoa Loaf, by me, Only Crumbs Remain.
So, let's get to it and bake!
Arancini Kievs with a Quinoa Crust Yum
Serves: 4 as a light lunch
Freezable: Sorry, untested
Time: hands on time about 60 minutes (including cooking the risotto); cooling and chilling time.
You will need:Large Pan
Medium Sized Bowl
3 Pudding Bowls
Frying Pan / Deep Fat Fryer
For the RisottoVegetable / Sunflower Oil
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
150g Arborio Rice
2 Vegetable Oxo Cubes
2 stems of Thyme, leaves removed
Vegetarian Parmasan Style Cheese (optional)
460g left over Risotto (cutting down any large pieces of vegetables.)
For the Garlic Butter60g Butter, softened, plus extra when cooking the arancini / risotto balls
1 - 2 tsp Garlic Puree (or more to taste, see note b below) (We used Gia's Garlic Puree, which is widely available)
60g Ready made Garlic Butter, softened
For the Quinoa Crust1bsp (heaped) Plain Flour
2 large Eggs, beaten
125g Pre-cooked Quinoa Grains, we used this Red & White Quinoa from Merchant
How to make them:1. Prepare to make the risotto. Set a large pan over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable / sunflower oil. Add the chopped onion and gently fry for a few minutes until softened. Crumble the oxo cubes into a small pan and add 1.5 pint of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the cubes. Place the pan onto the hob over a very low heat.
2. Cook the risotto. Add the risotto rice to the onions and stir with a wooden spoon, allowing the rice to be coated with any remaining oil. Pour around a quarter of the warm vegetable stock over the rice and stir again. Add the thyme leaves. Reduce the hob temperature to just under medium. Frequently stir the rice to avoid it from sticking to the base of the pan and to help it become creamier. As the rice starts to cook it will gradually absorb the stock already introduced to the rice. When most of the stock has been absorbed add a further ladle full of the vegetable stock and continue stirring. Continue adding further ladles of stock as the rice cooks. By the time the risotto rice has fully cooked most of the vegetable stock will have been gradually added to the pan. Avoid letting the rice become dry.
3. Check if the rice is cooked. The rice will take around 25 - 30 minutes to cook. Remove a grain from the pan with a clean spoon and bite it between your front teeth, if there is still a lot of hardness in the rice continue cooking the mixture and test again after a few further minutes of cooking. If the rice has a very slight bite to it (al dente) it is ready. The risotto will be creamy with a little thick starchy liquid remaining. Should you feel that there is too much liquid in the pan allow it to evaporate a little more. Stir in the vegetarian parmesan style cheese if using.
4. Cool. Once the rice is ready decant it into a good sized shallow bowl (ie pasta bowl or dinner plate) and set it aside to cool (the wide, shallow bowl / plate will allow the rice to cool much quicker). Once fully cold, cover and place into the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the risotto to firm up and be easier to shape.
5. Meanwhile prepare the garlic butter. Place the softened butter into a bowl and beat to soften further if necessary. Add 1 generous teaspoon of garlic puree and mix to combine. Taste (using a clean teaspoon rather than the one you measured the garlic with so you get a true taste of the butter) and add more garlic if required, (see note b below). Divide the garlic butter mixture into 8 portions. Quickly shape these into balls between your hands. Set aside on a plate. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up.
6. Prepare to shape the balls. Place the plain flour and beaten egg into two separate pudding bowls. In the third bowl mix together equal quantities of breadcrumbs and quinoa grains. Have a plate to hand for the shaped balls. Remove the cooked, chilled risotto from the fridge and uncover.
7. Shape the risotto balls. Remove a dessert spoon quantity of risotto from the bowl and place it in your open hand. Flatten out the risotto a little. Place a ball of garlic butter into the centre of the flattened risotto. Mould the rice around the ball of garlic butter, adding a little more risotto if necessary. Firm the ball gently between both of your cupped hands, aiming to ensure that the butter is fully encased. Ensure the risotto rice is compacted around the ball of garlic butter, to prevent the butter from seeping out whilst they are cooked. Continue to shape the risotto in the same way until it is all used.
8. Flour & breadcrumb the risotto balls. Place the shaped risotto ball into the flour and roll it around so that the whole of the surface is covered in flour. Gently knock off any excess flour. Dip the floured ball into the beaten egg ensuring that it is fully coated. Roll the ball in quinoa mixture, again ensuring that it is fully coated. For a crispier shell dip the ball in the egg again and then back into the quinoa mixture. Set the prepared ball on the plate. Repeat with the remaining risotto balls.
9. Chill. Place the prepared risotto balls into the fridge to firm up for at least half an hour.
10. Fry. Add 1 tbsp. of sunflower / vegetable oil to a frying pan along with a generous knob of butter. Set over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted and become very warm add the risotto balls to the frying pan to cook. Allow them to become crisp and brown, turning them gently allowing them to cook on each surface. Depending upon the size of your frying pan you may need to batch cook the arancini / risotto balls. Ensure they are fully heated through before serving. See note c below.
Enjoy with your favourite salad!
Notesa) If using raw quinoa and cooking it yourself, do ensure that it is thoroughly dried to prevent the crust potentially spoiling.
b) The garlic butter will taste quite strong during the preparation (step 5 above). However, once cooked the garlic butter becomes far less pungent. When we make this again we will add a further half teaspoon of garlic puree to our mixture (so a total of 1.5 tsp).
c) Alternatively, cook them in a deep fat frier.
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This post has been shared with:
Meatfree Monday hosted by Jacqueline over at Tinned Tomatoes.
Marathons & Motivation and Ilka at Ilka's Blog.
Marathons & Motivation and Ilka at Ilka's Blog.