Chicken Arancini

Crispy panko fried, boneless chicken legs, stuffed with creamy mushroom risotto, served with thyme chicken jus.

I can, on occasion, get out of hand with my ideas and recipes. I feel like this was one of those occasions. This recipe is very labor-intensive and requires hours of work. Not to mention the patience and skill needed to debone the chicken. I’ve deboned many a chicken in my day. It took me an hour to debone 12 legs, and I cut myself twice! I am not trying to discourage you in any way from making this recipe! It is delicious and totally worth the effort. Just a warning, so you know what you are getting yourself into.

I was thinking about stuffed chicken when I came up with this recipe. Somehow the thought spiraled into arancini. Transforming, what is normally, a dinner item into an appetizer. Traditionally, arancini are rice balls filled with cheese or ragu, breaded, and fried. This recipe is sort-of reverse arancini. The risotto becomes the filling, and the chicken becomes the base for the breading.

After making these, I tried thinking of ways to simplify the recipe. The only thing I came up with is using chicken breast instead of legs. Form the risotto into balls. Slice thin pieces of breast meat. Wrap the balls with the meat. Then, bread and fry. It would be possible to get 2-3 portions out of each breast depending on the size and would save about 1/2 hour of work. The downside is there would be some waste from the chicken breast and no bones to make the jus. If you make it this way, let me know how it comes out!

I originally made a gravy mayo to go with the arancini. It was tasty but turned out way too rich for the dish. To make the mayo, blend 2/3 cup jus with 1/2 cup mayo, and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon with a hand blender. If the sauce starts to separate, add 1/2 teaspoon of water.

Chicken Arancini

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 12

Ingredients

Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 onion small diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Jus

  • 12 chicken leg bones and skin
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 10-12 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Arancini

  • 12 chicken legs skinned and deboned
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 1/2 cups panko
  • oil for frying

Instructions

Mushroom Risotto

  • In a large pan heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to get soft. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until soft. Add the rice to the pan and toast for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the thyme, sherry and worcestershire. Turn the heat to medium low. Begin adding the chicken stock. Add enough to cover the rice. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. When the stock has absorbed add more stock. Continue this process until the rice is tender, creamy, and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Add 1 tbsp butter, season with salt and pepper. Cool completely.

Chicken Jus

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken bones and skin in a large deep sided pan and roast in the oven for 1 hour. After 30 minutes stir the bones and add the smashed garlic. Remove the pan from the oven and place on the stove over medium heat. Add the thyme and sherry. Cook for 1 minute and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup. Strain the liquid saving the garlic cloves. Place the pan back on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter. Add the flour and combine. Toast the roux for 1 minute add the garlic to the pan and smash into a puree. Slowly add the liquid back to the pan, whisking to combine. Cook the sauce for a couple of minutes until it has thickened. There should be 2/3 cup of jus. Season with salt and pepper.

Arancini

  • Debone the chicken. Fill the chicken cavities with risotto and form into a ball. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to bread.
  • Set up a breading station. Mix flour with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl or tray. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Pour panko into a bowl or tray. Have a tray or plate for the breaded arancini. Coat each ball with flour, then egg, then panko. Make sure each layer is well coated. Press the panko into the ball to ensure a good coating. Refrigerate until ready to fry.
  • Heat a pot to 325 degrees with enough oil to cover the balls. Fry the balls for 10-15 minutes depending on their size to internal temperature 150 degrees. Turn the arancini to ensure the bottoms do not burn on the pan. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Serve with chicken jus.

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