Local Food Recipe: Porcupine meatballs

Posted by James Sechrengost on 07/01, 2013 at 10:15 AM

When I was growing up one of the things my mother used to make was Porcupine Meatballs. I think one of the reasons I liked them so much is they were sort of a rite of passage. We knew that when we were allowed to help make the meatballs we were on our way to being grown up.

When I was first married I did most of the cooking. This came about because one day I came home from work to a house full of smoke. I ran into the kitchen and pulled an empty pot off of a burner that had boiled dry. My wife was a musician and she had put some water on and then got side tracked with a song she was trying to write. So, she was in the back studio working on it while she burned water. I took over the cooking and she was always ready to try anything I made as she was adventurous that way.

One day I had a craving for some porcupine meatballs. So I told my wife that I was going to make porcupine meatballs and she looked at me for a minute and said, “OK, but where are we going to get porcupine meat?” It was at that point I realized that not everyone had heard of this culinary delight. After I stopped laughing and she stopped swatting me I explained what they were. After trying them she agreed they were the epitome of comfort food.

Here is my recipe for them:

2 – 2 ½ cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup finely minced onion
1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 ½ lb. Lean Ground Beef (I prefer 90/10 as there is less grease to skim)
1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce (I prefer Hunts as it has more of a bite to it)
¾ cup long grain rice (uncooked)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix together tomato sauce, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce in a large Dutch oven or casserole dish.

3. Combine rice, onion, onion powder, garlic, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add beef; gently mix to combine (do not over mix).

4. Create small meatballs about 2 inches in diameter. Add to the sauce, making sure all the meatballs are submerged. Add more beef broth if needed.

5. Cover and bake, gently stirring once or twice, until the rice is tender, 2 to 2 ½ hours.

I like to serve them with mashed potatoes but they also go great with baked macaroni and cheese. I was just by the farmers market in the Hills Plaza on South Atherton and they had fresh green bell peppers. It reminded me that this mixture can also be used for stuffing peppers. Simply put the meat mixture into peppers that have been cored, seeded, and blanched for a few minutes to get rid of the slight bitter flavor. Place the peppers in a roaster or Dutch oven and cover with the sauce mix and bake until the peppers are tender and the meat and rice are thoroughly cooked, about the same amount of time as the meatballs.

Tags: recipe | meatballs | beef |

{name} Author: James Sechrengost

Bio: Computer Guru | World Traveler and Foodie Extraordinaire | Member of the Been there Done that Club

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