Snacks and sides

Braised beef cheek arancini

How do you make the arancini even better? Fill them with tender braised beef cheeks.
Four braised beef cheek arancini, one opened.
Four braised beef cheek arancini.
Serves 6-8
4H 15M
4H 45M

Arancini are a classic Italian snack that has stood the test of time. Made with arborio or risotto rice, arancini are typically made with tomato sauce and stuffed with plenty of cheese. In this recipe, we’ve gone for a slightly more luxe touch by stuffing each golden arancini with tender braised beef cheeks.

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For braised beef cheek, preheat oven to 160˚C fan-forced. Heat oil in a large casserole dish, over high heat. Add beef; cook, turning frequently, until browned all over (6 minutes). Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium-high, add onion, garlic and herbs; deglaze pan with sherry and reduce by two-thirds (2-3 minutes). Add stock, jus and return beef to pan; bring to the boil (5 minutes). Skim any impurities that rise to the surface. Cover with a cartouche and foil, braise until very tender and meat is falling apart (3½-4 hours).


Meanwhile, for risotto, melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (4 minutes). Stir in rice and cook, stirring continuously, until rice is coated in oil (1-2 minute). Add a ladleful of stock and stir until absorbed. Repeat until all stock has been added or until rice is cooked but still al dente (20-25 minutes). Stir in parmesan and season to taste. Spread risotto on a tray and refrigerate until cooled. Using damp hands, divide into 20 portions and roll into firm balls (about the size of a golf ball). Cover and refrigerate until ready to stuff with braised beef cheek.


Remove beef from braising liquid and shred into a large bowl. Add 60ml braising liquid, tarragon and parsley, season to taste and stir to combine; cool. Mixture should not be wet. Divide mixture into 20 portions. Flatten a ball in the palm of your hand and place a beef portion in the centre; enclose with fingers to form a ball; set aside. Repeat with remaining rice and beef portions.


Place flour on a tray then combine breadcrumbs with zest and parsley and place on a separate tray. Beat eggs with milk in a bowl. Roll arancini in flour, then in egg mixture, and finally in breadcrumbs to coat well; refrigerate for 15 minutes.


Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with vegetable oil and heat to 160°C. Fry arancini, in batches, until golden (2-3minutes). Serve with aïoli.

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