Beef and kale arancini

I really love arancini. For those of you who don’t know what they are, arancini are deep fried risotto balls. Truthfully, I don’t make them often enough, but that’s because I would first have to make risotto, and then make the arancini out of that, and that’s far too much labor for a snack. However, I happened to have made too much beef risotto one day, and luckily from there, I had risotto to make arancini with! For this recipe, just because I’m not lazy, you’ll be getting a three in one. You’ll get the recipe for the beef risotto, homemade beef stock, and on top of that, the recipe for the arancini to make from it! For my garnish, I went simple, and just did some fried kale leaves, as well as a kale salsa verde, just to add some height and vibrancy to the plate.

For my risotto, I used Arborio rice, since it has a higher starch content, resulting in a much creamier risotto. That is the typical rice you would use for risotto as well. For my salsa verde, I want it to be bright and punchy, since kale honestly has no real flavor on its own, but with anchovies and olive oil and chilies, it really does enhance the grassy notes in the kale, but at the same time, giving it layers of umami. While cheese and fish sounds weird, anchovies are a weird exception of that rule. In my sauce, I do blanch my garlic, just because raw garlic can be really overpowering, while blanching it mellows out the pungent flavor of it.

For the beef risotto:
1 cup Arborio rice
1 shallot, minced
minced kale stems
reserved beef fat
reserved beef meat
4 cups beef stock, kept warm
1/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
a pinch of salt
6 stalks of kale, stems removed and chiffonaded
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a large pot, start with toasting off your rice with the beef fat. Remove and sweat out the shallots, kale stems, and bay leaf with the beef fat as well, until translucent. Add back in your rice and deglaze first with white wine, then add in 1/2 cup of your beef stock. Stir constantly until the liquid is cooked out, on medium heat, and repeat until your beef stock is completely used. At this point, the rice should be cooked, but if it is not, then you can repeat the stirring step using warm water. Finish the risotto with the shredded beef, kale leaves, cheese, and butter. Transfer to a shallow pan or tray and refrigerate for at least 1 hour so that the risotto is cooled and set.

For the beef stock:
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
2 carrots, diced
3 ox tails
1/4 pound beef bones

Roast all of your ingredients, sans water, in on a sheet tray in a 400 degree F oven for 45 minutes. Transfer to a pot and deglaze your pan with water, pouring that liquid over your roasted vegetables and bones. Simmer for 2 hours, skimming all impurities from the broth. Remove the beef bones and oxtails first, and then plunge into cold water. Shred off the meat from those bones and reserve. Allow the broth to cool down until the fat has solidified on top. Remove that fat and reserve it as well for your risotto.\

For the arancini:
1 egg
Canola oil

Bring 2 inches of canola oil up to 330 degrees F in a deep pan. Roll the risotto into 1 inch balls and dredge in flour, egg, then panko. Deep fry these for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Finish with salt.

For the kale salsa verde:
6 kale stalks, stems removed
1/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest from 2 lemons
1 anchovy
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chili flakes
a pinch of salt

Blanch and shock the kale leaves and garlic clove. Transfer into a blender with the other ingredients and puree until smooth and vibrant green. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps.

For the kale chips:
Kale, stems removed
a pinch of salt
canola oil

Fry kale leaves in 330 degree F canola oil for 10-15 seconds, being careful that the oil can pop from the liquid content in the kale. Drain on a paper towel and finish with salt.

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