I promised this recipe quite a while ago and have been distracted ever since, but finally here it is. If you’ll recall I made these with the broad beans I picked in October which were then blanched and frozen. The occasion was a pre-Christmas get together with friends and I, for the first time in over four years was quite hung over, while I was getting these ready, not something I would recommend. However, their success does prove how easy – if a little fiddly – they are to make. They were a big hit and as I had plenty left over, I froze half uncooked and we had them for dinner another night.
Broad Bean and Fetta Arancini
3 cups chicken stock
250g broad beans (frozen or fresh)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup Aborio rice
1/3 grated parmesan
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2/3 plain flour
1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying
Bring the stock to the boil in a small saucepan, then reduce the heat to low.
Blanch the broad beans in boiling lightly salted water until just cooked. Refresh in iced water and slip the outer skins off the beans. (I had already cooked and double peeled mine, so I just dunked them in the boiling water to warm them up.) Once double peeled, puree the bright green beans in a food processor.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions. Cook over medium heat until soft then add the garlic and rice. Continue cooking for about two minutes.
Gradually add the hot stock, one ladle at a time, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Keeping doing this until all the liquid has been added and the rice is just tender and creamy. This should take about 25-30mins. Stir in the broad bean puree, parmesan, lemon zest and season to taste. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Once chilled, roll level tablespoons of the mixture into balls using damp hands. Press a cube of the fetta into the middle and cover over.
Roll each ball in flour, lightly beaten egg and finally coat in the breadcrumbs. Chill for a further 1-4 hours.
Half fill a large saucepan with the vegetable oil (although I shallow fried mine in just a couple of centimeters of oil in a large frying pan, turning to brown all sides) and heat to medium-high. Cook the arancini in batches for about two minutes each until crisp and brown. Drain on paper towel.
Serve with a herb mayonnaise.
Now I have a couple of things I need to explain. Firstly, you’ll notice my balls are quite large, much larger than a level tablespoonful. That is quite simply because I was in no fit state to be rolling 24 little balls, so I did 12 larger ones. The little ones would be much better if you wanted to serve them as figure food, but the larger ones were perfect for dinner.
Secondly, my photo is fairly horrendous, I apologise, I had forgotten to photograph them until the very last minute. I had been mere seconds away from taking that first forkful when I remembered. Notice the very messy plate, clearly I was not well prepared.
Lastly, despite all this, these golden balls really are delicious and something a bit different if you’re entertaining or taking a plate somewhere. I think you would convert anyone to the beauty of the broad bean with this recipe.