This recipe is from the Great Depression era but it still tastes like pure gold

January 29, 2024


You guys, let me tell you about the cutest little comfort food creation that ever rolled onto a dinner plate—Porcupine Meatballs. They’re like the quirky cousin of your traditional meatball, and I can never get enough. The rice pokes out giving them that adorable porcupine-like appearance, but don’t worry, they’re as friendly on the fork as can be. These meatballs hark back to the Great Depression, an era all about making the most of what you’ve got, which honestly is a mantra we can all get behind today. If you’re looking to whip up something hearty that’s packed with flavor and nostalgia, then this is your go-to recipe.
Now, when it comes to serving up these little darlings, I love pairing them with a simple green salad for a bit of freshness and a crusty piece of bread to sop up all that delicious tomatoey sauce. On lazier days, a spoonful of these over steamed white rice or buttered egg noodles works wonders. Also, don’t overlook the power of some good old mashed potatoes to make it the ultimate comfort meal.

Porcupine Meatballs

Servings: 4-6
– 1 lb ground beef
– 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/3 cup chopped onion
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
– 1 cup water (for the sauce)
– 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Get out a baking dish big enough to fit all your meatballs comfortably.
2. Take a big bowl, and in it, combine the ground beef, uncooked rice, 1/2 cup water, chopped onions, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix it but don’t overwork it—just like when we promise ourselves only 10 minutes on social media, okay?
3. Shape into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Place them in your baking dish, ensuring they don’t feel too cozy with each other (social distancing applies to meatballs, too).
4. In another bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, 1 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar—this is where that tangy magic happens.
5. Pour the sauce over the meatballs like you’re giving them a cozy tomato blanket.
6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and pop it in the oven. Let those meatballs bake for about 45 minutes.
7. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to get a little browning action on the top.

Variations & Tips:
You can make these meatballs gluten-free by swapping out the white rice for a GF alternative like quinoa. If you’re looking for a little more veggie action, finely grate some carrot or zucchini into the meat mixture. And lastly, if you’re pressed for time, the slow cooker is your friend. Just assemble as directed and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours! Happy cooking, and enjoy these little balls of joy that are sure to be a hit at any family dinner, potluck, or chilly Wednesday night.

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