OK, I understand
What brilliant little snack food arancini is. It’s what we do with left over risotto, so we get two meals out of one! And when using something as special as duck meat it's good to be able to stretch the meat out over a few meals. An added bonus is you can also make a tasty stock with the bones, and compost the remains.
If you’ve not yet tried duck I urge you to give it a go. For me it’s a treat, it’s not something to eat everyday; in fact meat in general is a treat at our table with most of our meals being vegetable based. And why not! It’s easier and more reliable to grow your own vegetables than to rely on a meat supply that is either fished or hunted.
When I decided to put my ethics in regards to food into action I realised that this reduction in meat would be necessary and I don’t mind it one bit. But for today I’m excited about duck.
I love that duck has a distinct flavour, although it varies according to breed, as do wild and farmed varieties of duck. I’m no expert in tasting the difference, I just know that duck tastes wildly different from chicken and it has one hell of a ripper taste.
You’ve probably already had arancini, maybe at a party, a restaurant or made by your nonna’s capable hands. It’s very simple to make, well that is if you like making risotto, which I reckon is also super easy to cook. You just need to be patient for 30 minutes or so, and as the most impatient person I know, even I can make it!
For Wild Duck Risotto
The meat from one roast duck
500 g Arborio rice
2 cups mushrooms
2 stalks celery, diced
1 x onion, diced
5 x cloves garlic
2 litres chicken stock
1 cup red wine
50 g Parmesan, grated
Fresh thyme, finely chopped
Fresh sage, finely chopped
Wild duck risotto
Breadcrumbs (make your own with stale bread whizzed in the food processor)
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 litre (frying oil or olive oil)
I think the key to a good risotto is the stock you use. I’m no Italian expert but as a person who makes his own stock I think the difference is unmistakable. I really don’t want to sound like one of those ‘foodies’, but home made stock packs more punch than store bought, and it’s unique every time you make it.
Now in order to make arancini we need some risotto. Firstly I pop a few litres of stock on the hob on medium to warm it up. Then I start off the cooking with a glug of olive oil in a large pot, and sweat out finely diced celery and onion. I cook that until its lovely and soft, then I add 500gm of Arborio rice. I use this much so that I can feed the kids a risotto meal and have heaps left over for the arancini.
I stir this constantly on medium to high heat until the rice becomes a little transparent, and that’s when I throw in some wine and stir through until reduced.
Now the process of pouring in one ladle of warm stock in and stirring until absorbed starts. It’s imperative at this point to make sure the drinking wine is in reach as you can’t leave the hob for a while. Keep the stock and stirring process going for 15 minutes, then add the diced duck meat.
Continue this ladle of stock and stir through process until the rice is still just a little firm, but soft enough not to give you that rice grit action.
When the rice is cooked, add the grated cheese and knobs of butter and stir through. Pop a lid on and take a sip of wine.
You can make the arancini straight away. If you do just let the risotto cool enough to handle or you can wait until the next day when the risotto has been in the fridge overnight. It’s easier to handle straight from the fridge.
Whizz up some stale bread to make the bread crumbs. Then form small balls with the rice mix, followed by rolling them into the bread crumbs. You can give them a bath in a whisked egg if you like, but I find the bread crumbs sticks pretty well without it.
Fry the arancini in hot cooking oil until golden brown. Serve with a dipping sauce like aioli and grate over some pecorino or parmigiano and crushed salt flakes. Delish!