Monday, January 26, 2009

Porcupine Meatballs

My brother-in-law and his girlfriend came over for dinner one evening. When I announced that we were having porcupine meatballs, the girlfriend looked around nervously. She spooned only a couple on to her plate, to be polite, but I noticed she was hesitant to eat them. I casually threw out that I made them with ground beef, wondering if perhaps she wondered if I were actually serving porcupine. Sure enough, she promptly tasted the meatballs and added a few more to her plate before the meal was over.

This dish gets it's name from the "quills" of rice sticking out from the meatballs.

Also, this is one of the few dishes my oldest son will eat without a dramatic "how many bites?" negotiation.

1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 c long grain white rice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs chopped onion (I use dried, minced onion)
1 cup tomato juice/sauce (I prefer sauce, it has a more acidic base)
1/2 c water

In a medium bowl combine beef, rice, salt, pepper and onion. Form into 1-inch meatballs. Pour tomato sauce and water into a 3-quart pressure cooker (No pressure cooker? Don't worry. I've adapted this recipe to stove top as well. See below.) Over medium-high heat, bring tomato sauce and water to a boil. Add in meatballs, stir gently to coat. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and heat until there is a solid stream of steam escaping, put on weight. (Well, YOU don't put on weight, just place the pressure-cooker weight atop the lid.) Process for 10 minutes. Allow time for pressure cooker to stabilize before removing lid.

Stove top directions:
Prepare meatballs as directed substituting 1/2 cup minute rice for long grain rice and adding 1 lightly beaten egg to meat mixture. In a large skillet, brown meatballs on all sides over medium-high heat. Add water and tomato juice; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

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