A Recipe for Wild Turkey Arancini

A new twist on the classic fried Italian rice balls
wild turkey arancini
Wild turkey arancini. Jamie Carlson

In a previous post, I talked about making wild game stock using the bones of the animals I hunt. Depending on how successful you are as a hunter, you can amass quite a bit of stock—and subsequently need to find uses for it. Besides the obvious uses in soups and stews, one of my favorite things to make is risotto. Risotto is an Italian rice dish made with a special rice called arborio. You slowly stir stock into the rice as you cook it, adding the stock one ladle at a time. The starches from the rice make the risotto creamy. When done correctly, it is an amazing dish—and just that much better when made with wild game stock.

I recently came into a whole bunch of wild turkey legs and thighs, and needed to cook them as quickly as possible. I started looking for ways to use them that would extend their shelf lives. One way I did that was to make stock and then pick all the meat off the bones and use that meat in enchiladas and stew. Lucky for me, I ended up with close to 10 quarts of wild turkey stock. I have been slowly making my way through all that and one of the dishes I made was risotto. The risotto was awesome, but then I had a bunch of left over risotto. And when I looked for ideas on how to use leftover risotto, I came across arancini.

wild turkey arancini rice balls
Breaded rice balls, before they hit the fryer. Jamie Carlson

Arancini are an Italian stuffed rice ball that you roll in breadcrumbs and deep fry. Deep fried stuffed rice balls sound like something you get at the state fair, but I gave them a try and was pleased with the results. Arancini are traditionally stuffed with mozzarella or a ragu of some sort, but I wanted to add a little bit more wild game to them. cCnveniently, I had a bunch of wild turkey confit that I had made with some of those same turkey legs and thighs. I mixed the confit with the wild turkey risotto and made the arancini—and was blown away at how good these things were. When you fried the rice balls the breadcrumbs and the rice for a crust around the outside and the inside of the rice ball get almost silky. Dip it in a little homemade marinara, and you have yourself one hell of a treat.

arancini rice balls
Wild turkey rice balls, fresh out of the fryer. Jamie Carlson


1 cup left over Risotto

½ cup wild turkey (or any other kind) confit

¼ cup bread crumbs +1 cup to roll them in

¼ cup fresh grated parmesan

1 egg

Oil for frying


Mix the risotto, confit, parm, egg and ½ cup of bread crumbs in a bowl and then form into golf ball size pieces. Roll the rice balls in the remaining bread crumbs to coat and then gently lower then into oil that is heated to 350 degrees. Fry the balls for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara on the side.