Monday, December 21, 2020

ABRAMS Dinner Party Spotlight: 2020 Christmas with Southern Living...Featuring Red Beans-and-Rice Arancini #abramsdinnerparty #southernliving #Christmas2020 #holidaycooking #appetizers

Today, I'm sharing my final ABRAMS Dinner Party feature of 2020. Being a huge fan of Southern Living's regional Southern recipes, I was thrilled to receive a copy of ABRAMS' new 2020 Christmas with Southern Living to cook from! This amazing book features creative ideas to decorate, craft, and cook for the holidays  -- including suggested theme menus and 100+ new recipes. Several recipes immediately caught my eye for feature consideration -- including Peanut Butter-Banana Pudding Cheesecake Bars, Green Chile Cheese Dip, and Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies. However, I ultimately chose a creative, flavorful appetizer for my family's annual Christmas Eve small-bites celebration! Red Beans-and-Rice Arancini start with a boxed red beans and rice mix, with a couple of flavorful mix ins. After chilling in the fridge, the mixture is rolled into balls, breaded, and fried. Even the pickiest eaters in my family asked for more when they tasted these tasty treats!

Red Beans-and-Rice Arancini
from 2o2o Christmas with Southern Living
Ingredients (makes 22 pieces):
  • 8-ounce package red beans and rice mix (such as Zatarain's)
  • 1/2 pound smoked sausage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion (from 3 large scallions)
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 1/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Step 1: Cook red beans and rice according to package directions, stirring in sausage before cooking. Stir in scallions. Cover and chill at least 4 hours...but overnight is fine too.
Step 2: Shape chilled mixture into 22 balls (about 2 heaping tablespoons per ball). I used a cookie scoop to ensure each piece is the same size. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk eggs and water in a second bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl. 
Dredge red beans-and-rice balls in the flour, dip in the egg mixture, and roll in breadcrumbs to coat. Place the breaded arancini on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes -- or up to 24 hours.

Step 3: Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a deep saucepan; heat to 350℉. Fry rice balls, in batches, until golden -- flipping to ensure even color. This will take approximately 2-3 minutes per batch. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a salt. Keep warm in a 225℉ oven; serve warm.
Step 4: Plate the warm arancini on a holiday serving platter. Sprinkle with a bit of Creole seasoning, along with your choice of dipping sauce on the side. 
Man...these creative Louisiana-inspired arancini are absolutely amazing! The outside fries up nice and crispy...while the inside features creamy, smoky red beans and rice and smoky sausage. This appetizer will be definitely be featured at my family's scaled-down Christmas Eve appetizer dinner later this week. I like to serve these lightly spicy red beans-and-rice arancini with a super simple dipping sauce. Simply add the following components to a small bowl and give it a good stir:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. grainy Creole mustard
  • 1 Tbs. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 sliced green onions
  • 1 Tbs. dill relish
Spoon the dip into a clear dish to showcase its pretty pink color. Then? Dip and enjoy! 

Disclosure; This post is part of my year-long partnership with ABRAMS Books' Dinner Party blog group. I received a complimentary copy of the featured cookbook to facilitate this feature. All opinions stated are solely my own.

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