Imagine my delight when I came across this crinkled note deep in my recipe box. The memory of fragrant tomato sauce simmering on the stove, the buttery mashed potatoes, the huge meatballs spiked with rice, the smile that split my face as a child when I laughed about how they really looked like little porcupines.
There are fond memories of me sitting at my grandmother’s elbow watching her make porcupine meatballs. They were one of my favorite meals growing up and I had forgotten about them entirely!
Ground beef stuffed with rice and seasonings simmered in a rich tomato sauce heavily ladled over buttery mashed potatoes. Comfort food at. Its. Best. How could I forget how awesome these are?
Shouldering a re-usable tote-bag and clutching the recipe note in my hand, I set out to purchase the ingredients.
My Grandmother’s Porcupine Meatballs
These porcupine meatballs are quick and simple to make and are a great weeknight meal. They’re kid-friendly (especially if you have them help you make prickly looking “porcupines”) and delicious. I’m sure they will be a hit.
Porcupine Meatball Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need for the meatballs:
• 1lb ground grass-fed beef
• 1 small onion finely chopped
• 1-2 cloves crushed garlic
• 1 small red or green bell pepper finely chopped
• A generous pinch of Celtic sea salt
• Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
• A small dash of cinnamon
• 1 TB herbs de Provence crushed in a mortar and pestle (optional)
• ½ cup uncooked rice (I usually use white rice but you may be able to substitute soaked wild rice or brown rice)
For the sauce:
Now, you can either used canned whole tomatoes for this (BPA-free of course!) or make the tomato sauce yourself. The freshly made sauce makes about 6 cups, so you might have some leftover depending on the size of your family. I like to freeze the leftover sauce for later use.
• 1/2 cup cooking oil of your choice
• 1 small onion finely chopped
• 2-3 cloves crushed garlic (I like adding more because I LOVE garlic)
• 1 stalk celery cut in three long strips then chopped into small cubes
• 1 carrot chopped (try to keep it the same size as the celery)
• Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (a generous pinch of each)
• 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (if you’re using fresh, get 2lbs nice ripe Roma tomatoes, blanch, peel, de-seed, and mill)
• 4-6 basil leaves
• 2-3 dried bay leaves
• 4 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter
To make the fresh tomato sauce:
• Saute the onions and garlic till the onions are translucent in the oil.
• Add the celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes till soft
• Add the basil, bay leaves, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 1 hour
• Add the butter at the end to liven up the flavor
• Blend with an emersion blender till until you reach the desired consistency
Loving Preparation – Homemade Porcupine Meatballs
• Mix all the meatball ingredients together and make uniform meatballs, about 1 ½ inches in size. The rice is added UNCOOKED to the mixture.
• Drop the meatballs into a large saucepan or dutch oven and gently simmer in the tomato sauce for about 30-40 minutes. Check them often for tenderness towards the end, you don’t want hockey pucks for dinner!
• Serve over buttery mashed potatoes and ladle some tomato sauce over everything
[yumprint-recipe id=’68’]Have you ever made porcupine meatballs before? Please share in the comments below!
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