Recently the vivacious V1 hosted a hens party for a friend of hers. As she was responsible for all the fun and frivolity on the night, she asked me to help with the catering. We made a range of things, including these Cheesy mushroom arancini and a very "special" cake which I will hopefully bring to you soon. All I'll say is it rated PG-18.
The hen had told V1 that she wanted good food, so if she was to get extremely wasted and eventually have to throw up she wanted to bring up something that tasted good. Rice balls are both delicious and soft. Great for the hens' purposes.
I usually make arancini with meat and vegies and a tomato sauce, but this time I had a real craving for Camembert and mushrooms, and besides it was good for any vegetarians in attendance. I made them with 4 different types of cheeses, just to pack in the cheesy-ness, Parmesan, tasty cheese, mozzarella and Camembert. The photo doesn't do them any justice, the mozzarella comes out so stringy and oozy its delicious, they are best eaten hot straight from the pan, but they can be kept for the next day and reheated if desired. Hmmm I'm salivating just thinking about it.
They require a little fiddling about and some deep frying, but I promise you the end result is was worth any trouble!! So here the recipe, with step by step photos on how to assemble the rice balls.
Cheesy Mushroom Arancini
Rice needs to be cooked 1 day in advance
2 cups of medium grain rice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 -6 eggs
1 pinch of saffron soaked in a teaspoon of water overnight (optional)
Vegetable oil (for deep frying)
100 grams Parmesan
mozzarella, rolled up into small balls
Camembert, cut into small cubes
1. Cook rice in salted water until just cooked. Drain, let it cool and then cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight. Make sure that it is tightly wrapped so that it does not dry out at all. On the next day take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before using.
2. Dice mushroom into small pieces and saute with a little olive oil in a large flat frying pan. Add garlic and cook until mushrooms are soft, but not dry, season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
3. Add saffron to rice (this gives the rice a golden color and a sweet flavour)
break two whole eggs into the rice. Add the yolks of two more eggs and place the whites in another shallow bowl. Add Parmesan and a couple of hand fulls of tasty cheese.
Using your clean bare hands mix everything together. Feel the consistency of the mixture if it is too wet add a hand full or two of breadcrumbs, if the mixture does not stick together easily, add another egg. Continue this mixing until a sticky but not too wet rice mixture is achieved.
4. Whipped egg whites until they are very frothy and firm, but not stiff. As you use the egg whites you will need to keep whipping them to get them frothy again. Place a shallow bowl of water next to the rice mixture. I find it easiest if I have a helping hand, but isn't that with everything in life?
5. Bring the mushrooms close to you, fill a bowl with dry breadcrumbs and assemble all your ingredients so they are handy including cheese's.
6. Wet the palm of your non-dominate hand with water, this prevents the rice from sticking to your hand. Wet the tips of your fingers with some water and take a generous pinch of rice and spread it on your hand to make a flat section of rice. Remember that the smaller the section of rice, the smaller your rice ball. I suggest starting big and then making them smaller as you get better.
7. Add a tablespoon of mushroom mixture, a mozzarella ball and a piece of Camembert to the flatten riced.
8. Take another generous pinch of rice in your dominate hand, with the your fingers and thumb flatten the rice to make another section of rice to place on top of the mushroom mixture.
9. Bring your hands close together and press them gently together, shape into a ball.
10. Roll in egg whites, you only need a little so I usually take a dab or two and coat it in my hands.
11. Coat ball in breadcrumbs. Deep fry them in some oil on medium heat. Make sure not to roll them around too much as they easily break. cook them until golden brown then drain them on some absorbent paper.
Some tips and tricks
- After you make your first ball is the true test of rice stickiness. If it doesn't come to together easily, add another egg to the rice mixture
- During the rolling stage if you see any filling coming out poke it back in and seal the hole with a few grains of rice. This is very important as if there is any exposed filling it is sure to burst when cooking.
- When rolling in breadcrumbs if cracks appear or the ball is in jeopardy of falling apart, roll it in generous amount egg white and then roll with a thick amount of breadcrumbs. This will form a "plaster" shell that is more difficult to break, and will mend any cracks.
- Test the temperature of the oil before dropping your first ball in. Take a grain of rice, if it sizzles than its ready. Keep a close eye on the temperature of the oil, if it becomes too hot the outer shell with brown without the inside heating up and melting the cheese.