Arancini with Roast Chicken, Blue Cheese & Spinach

Serves 6–8 as a generous snack

Makes 12–16 balls

This is an insanely delicious way to use leftover roast chicken. Serve as the perfect partner to drinks or pair with a large salad to make a meal. If you don’t enjoy blue cheese, you can use mozzarella or feta cheese instead.


1½ cups leftover roast chicken, torn into bit sized pieces

350g frozen spinach

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

400g risotto rice

½ cup white wine

1½ litres hot low-salt chicken stock

50g parmesan cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

80g creamy blue cheese, cut into 1cm cubes

1 cup flour for dusting

3 free range eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups panko breadcrumbs

Olive oil for sautéing and frying

To serve: Beetroot relish or other favourite relish


  1. Thaw the frozen spinach and squeeze very tightly to remove all excess moisture.
  2. Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the rice and toss until well coated.
  3. Add the white wine and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes. Add the hot chicken stock ½ cup at a time and stir continuously. Add more stock once each addition has been mostly absorbed. This will take roughly 15 minutes. Remove from the heat when the rice is tender and add the parmesan and lemon zest. Season to taste. Leave to cool completely. This process can be sped up by spreading the cooked rice on 2 large dinner plates and placing in the fridge.
  4. To form the balls, scoop a ¼ cup of the cooked rice into your hand and form a thin patty. Place one cube of blue cheese and a couple of pieces of chicken in the middle. Wrap the rice around it to form a ball. Repeat until all the balls are made. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.
  5. Place the flour on a plate, the beaten egg in a bowl beside that and then the breadcumbs on another plate.
  6. Roll each ball in the flour, dip it in the egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. The balls might not be perfectly round and this is fine. Sometimes a slightly flattened ball shape can be easier to handle in the pan.
  7. Heat 1cm of oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Cook the balls in batches until golden on all side. Place in a warm oven while you cook all the balls.
  8. Serve immediately with a favourite relish.