Lamb arancini

Ingredients

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 250g minced lamb
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1½ tsp ground allspice 
  • 15g chopped dill
  • 10g chopped mint
  • 1½ tsp dried mint
  • About 50g plain flour, for rolling
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150g fresh breadcrumbs 
  • About 300ml sunflower oil, for frying
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges, to serve
Lamb arancini

Makes 16, to serve four generously.

These are lovely with tomato chutney, full-fat yoghurt or just a wedge of lemon.

  1. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan. Add the rice and turn up the heat to high. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly, add 100ml of stock and boil for two minutes. Turn down the heat, then gradually add the rest of the stock, stirring frequently, until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked al dente (if it needs more cooking after using up the stock, add some boiling water). This stage should take 40-45 minutes. Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan on a medium-high heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the lamb, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cook for five minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is cooked through.
  3. Drain most of the oil from the pan (alternatively, transfer the mixture to a colander and leave it to drain for a few minutes), then add the meat to the warm rice with the allspice, dill, fresh and dried mint, and some more black pepper. Stir, then use your hands to shape the mixture into balls weighing about 50g each.
  4. Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Roll the rice-and-meatballs first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs, so they're well coated.
  5. Pour enough sunflower oil into a large sauté pan so that it rises 0.5cm up the sides. Put the pan on a medium-high heat and, once it's up to temperature (test by dropping in a cube of bread: it should sizzle and turn golden and crisp in about 40 seconds), fry the balls in batches for four to five minutes, turning so they colour and crisp on all sides. Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate and keep somewhere warm while you cook the remaining arancini. Serve hot with a wedge of lemon on the side.