Courtesy Nina Compton, chef and co-owner, Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro, New Orleans
This dish, a menu staple at Compère Lapin since it opened in June 2015, melds Compton’s Caribbean roots and Italian training with the classic flavors of Louisiana.
About Nina Compton
“Much like my personality, my style of cooking is fun and outgoing,” says Nina Compton of Compère Lapin, one of New Orleans’ hottest restaurants, as well as the forthcoming Bywater American Bistro.
The Top Chef alum and St. Lucia native gives local ingredients Caribbean and Italian twists. The result is the creation of new classics like the dirty rice arancini here. “Diversity in the South’s population is woven into the food scene,” says Compton. “It goes to show how much room there is to grow within Southern cuisine.”
Last Updated: May 11, 2023
Ingredients for Dirty Rice Arancini
Directions for Dirty Rice Arancini
Warm stock over low heat.
In large sauté pan, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add livers and sausage. Cook, stirring often, until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Add chile pepper, ½ cup chopped onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, salt, onion powder, cayenne, oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup stock and scrape up any browned bits. Lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In separate pot over medium heat, melt butter and add remaining 1 cup onion. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Continue cooking, adding remaining warm chicken stock 1 cup at a time and allowing rice to absorb stock between additions, until rice is al dente, 20–30 minutes (you may not use all stock). Remove from heat. Stir in sausage mixture, parsley and Parmesan. Let cool.
Season flour with salt and pepper. Put flour, egg and panko in separate dishes. With wet hands, scoop about 3 tablespoons rice and form into balls. Using thumb, create hole in center of each ball. Add cube of fontina, and enclose with rice. Coat in flour, then egg, then panko, and shake off excess each time. Set aside on wire rack until ready to fry.
Fill wok or deep pot with 4 inches oil, and heat to 350˚F. Fry in batches until golden brown, turning to cook evenly, about 4 minutes. Dry on paper towels. Serve hot with mojo sauce. Serves 4–6.
Ingredients for Sour Orange Mojo
Directions for Sour Orange Mojo
Using mortar and pestle or small food processor, mash garlic, chile pepper, salt and cumin into paste. Scrape into bowl. In small saucepan, warm oil and stir into garlic mixture. Let sit 10 minutes. Add juice, vinegar and black pepper.
Larry Miller, co-owner/general manager of Compère Lapin, suggests the Descendientes de J. Palacios 2015 Pétalos Bierzo. “This is old-vine Mencía,” says Miller. “It has mild tannins and medium body to work well with the creaminess of the cheese and spicy flavor of the meat, with enough acidity to balance the fried texture of the arancini.”