Chicken and Beet Arancini

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
Serves: 20

Arancini is Italian for fried rice ball. In Italy these are made using Arborio, which is the same rice used for making risotto. Arancini is a creative and delicious way to use up leftover risotto. Arancini is always a party pleaser at cocktail parties, and a complete meal when paired with a soup or salad. Make sure to leave a few hours between making the risotto and the arancini to allow it to cool completely. Cold risotto is easier to form into the balls for frying.


2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) Spanish onion(s), finely-chopped
1 1/4 cup (315 mL) Arborio rice
1/3 cup (75 mL) dry white wine
1 cup (250 mL) cooked chicken, finely shredded
1/2 cup (125 mL) yellow beets, finely diced
5 cups (1.25 L) low-sodium chicken broth
1 red beet, peeled, finely grated
1/2 cup (125 mL) old cheddar cheese, grated
3 cups (750 mL) canola oil
3 cups (750 mL) vegetable oil
2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk
3 cups (750 mL) italian breadcrumbs


1 Begin by bringing the stock to a simmer in a medium-sized pot, and keep warm while making the risotto.
2 In a medium pot or deep skillet heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When the butter looks frothy, add the onions and begin to sauté over medium-low heat until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes.
3 Add the Arborio and stir to toast for 2 minutes. You will hear a faint crackling sound. Add the wine and adjust heat to avoid boiling the liquid. Stir until the wine is almost completely absorbed. Add the chicken and the yellow beet and stir for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
4 Add two (2) ladles of stock into the risotto and begin to stir gently. Once it has absorbed continue to add the stock one ladle at a time, about 30 minutes until al dente. Make sure to taste risotto to ensure it is cooked to your liking.
5 Taste and season the risotto with salt and pepper. Stir in cheddar cheese and the grated red beet.
6 Spread the risotto in a large dish such as a lasagna pan and let it cool completely in the fridge, about 2 hours.
7 Heat the canola oil to 350°F (175°C) in a large heavy bottomed pot or skillet.
8 Once the risotto is cooled, roll ¼ cup portions of risotto into ping pong sized balls. Lightly dredge each of the balls in the breadcrumbs then dip into buttermilk and roll once more through the breadcrumbs and shake off any excess. Use one hand for the wet and the other hand for dry mixture.
9 Fry the arancini in batches of 5-6, depending on the size of your pot. Fry for 4-6 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little sea salt while warm. Continue to fry in batches. Serve warm or at room temperature.