Can you believe that the premiere of Survivor is five days away? Well you better, because it is … and I am bursting out of my skin with excitement. After kicking off my countdown with past champs Vecepia, Tom and Danni, I knew there was only one person I could have over to round things out – my boy Todd Herzog!
Todd has had an extremely well publicised battle with alcoholism over the last couple of years (which was subsequently taken advantage of by Dr. Phil), but I’m pleased to say that unlike me, he is doing really well. And it filled me with such joy to see him, happy and healthy.
And ready to welcome another person into the winner’s circle.
As you may have assumed, I played a large role in Todd’s problem, always wanting to give him one more drink … but thankfully he hasn’t held that against me and we’ve been able to maintain our close friendship.
Todd truly is an icon of Survivor and, in my not at all humble opinion, is one of the best winners and gave one of the best final tribal performances of all time. Let’s be honest, the jury wanted one of the girls to win before Todd schooled them, and charmed his way to a million dollars.
If it isn’t already abundantly clear, I love Todd and desperately want him to return when he is well enough.
Anyway, we laughed, we cried and we ran the odds on who we want to win (heart, Jacob) and who we think will win (please Wendell or Kellyn). As is always the case here, I found it to be extremely hunger inducing, so whipped us up a batch of Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini.
Now I love me some arancini … but when they taste like this, how could you not? The creamy risotto, the woody mushroom and the whack of the gorgonzola. These babies are heavenly.
Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
250 mixed mushrooms, finely chopped
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry vermouth
⅔ cup parmesan, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
½ cup flour
2 tbsp milk
150g gorgonzola, diced
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, reduce heat to low and simmer. Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sweat for 5 minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the mushies and cook for a further five minutes, or until soft before adding the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes, or until the rice starts to get translucent around the edges.
Stir through the vermouth, followed by half a cup of the warm stock and stir until the liquid has just all absorbed. Add another half cup of stock and repeat the process until it is all gone, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the parmesan and seasonings, and stir to combined. Allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
To assemble, place the breadcrumbs in one bowl, the flour in another and whisk the egg and milk in another. With wet hands, take 1-2 cup of risotto in your hands, form a ball while squeezing out all the air. Form a whole in the centre, press the gorgonzola inside, enclose and roll. Repeat until they’re all done.
When you’re ready to crumb, roll each arancini in flour, followed by egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat the process and place on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and place in the oven to bake for fifteen-twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.