What to stew, what to stew? Bison Arancini is always a good answer.
Stew meat can be incredibly versatile, you can make warm hearty meals or you can go a bit fancier while still not requiring much effort. This dish is great for entertaining a big group or for stock piling quick lunch snacks. All the work can be done ahead of time. What's in it? The long and short of it is meat and cheese stuffed fried risotto balls.
Prep time: 15min
Cook time: 1.5 hours
1lb DRBISON stew cubes, or kabob cubes
1 small white onion
bocconcini or mozzarella (you can use whatever soft cheese you'd like really)
1 cup parmesan cheese (or asiago), grated or shredded
basil for garnish
tomato sauce (flavored or plain whichever is your preference)
2 cloves garlic
2 cups Risotto rice (Arborio is what I use, but any short grain high starch rice will work)
3 cups chicken or beef stock
bread crumbs (plain or panko)
2 eggs for egg wash
3 cups Vegetable oil for frying.
Directions for instant pot:
Set instant pot to sauté and brown your meat in olive oil, salt and pepper for seasoning.
Pull meat out, sauté some chopped onions and garlic in same pot.
Deglaze pot with some water or stock to scrape up any little bits of meat so they don't burn.
Place bison stew meat back in and stew for 1 hour plus 15 mins for venting time.
While stew is cooking, in a large frying pan heat 2 tbs of olive oil on medium high heat. Add your 2 cups of risotto rice to toast, stirring often 2 min.
lower heat to medium and gradually add stock while continuing to stir and keep at a simmer. You need to release the starches in the rice so keep stirring. ~20min cook time can vary. Continue tasting as you don't want hard rice.
Once rice is cooked (not hard) add 1 cup of parmesan cheese to mix in and thicken it up, you are looking for sticky and smooth NOT watery, if it's quite loose and wet simmer for a bit longer to cook off excess liquid.
Set aside to cool, I like to move it into a glass Pyrex dish and spread it out to cool faster.
Warm the tomato sauce, and season to preference. I like to use a roasted garlic tomato sauce and add basil, onion, salt and pepper. Set on low and let the flavour build while you assemble the arancini.
When stew meat is finished venting add the meat to a bowl and shred with 2 forks pulling it apart, add 3-4 tbsp. of sauce to the meat and stir it up to give it a good coat and add some extra flavour inside.
If frying right away, begin heating vegetable oil now in medium sized pot, you don't want it to splash over, but you want to be able to submerge the balls. Keep an eye on the oil - you don't want it getting too hot, once it's hot turn down to medium-high.
In a small bowl mix up eggs for an egg wash, and in a separate bowl add 1.5 cups of bread crumbs.
Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of rice into your hand make a nest out of the rice, add a bocconcini and a tsp of meat into the indentation, close rice around it and form a ball, add a bit more rice if needed, it's not an exact science.
Take each ball and place in the egg wash then into the bread crumbs, set aside on a sheet pan.
Continue until you've made all of your arancini. You can now either store until you're ready to serve, or begin frying.
To fry; take a metal slotted spoon, test your oil temp (you're going to want it to bubble right away, I take a small chunk of risotto and place on spoon and submerge, if it's not bubbling the oil is not hot enough).
One at a time, place a ball onto metal slotted spoon, submerge into the oil and rotate it for ~30 seconds cook time. (If you have a bigger spoon you can do 2 at a time but you don't want to crowd it). When ball is dark golden brown it's ready; pull it out and set on a plate or pan, on paper towel. Repeat until all are done.
To serve; dollop some sauce on a plate to place arancini on top, with additional sauce in a bowl on the side for dipping. Add chopped basil to garnish and enjoy!