Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Porcupine Meatballs - These Don't Hurt Going Down!

I know that it is Spring, almost Summer really unless you live here in Pennsylvania, but these Porcupine Meatballs are a hearty meal that is great for any day of the week.  I like to make these when I am at home and don't have to rush off anywhere because I can put them on the stove or in the oven and while I am busy working around the house, these delicious meatballs are slowly cooking and basting away in the oven.  The original recipe used about 1/2 the amounts I have in my recipes here but when I had 4 kids at home it wasn't enough so I doubled it!  Here is what you need to do:

In a medium sized mixed bowl throw in your 2 pounds of ground beef.  If you are trying to save money and use the meat with the higher fat content, just make sure you drain off the grease in the pan after you have browned the meatballs and before you put the sauce into the pan.

Next Salt and Pepper your meat.

Add the minced or chopped onion.  I like to just chop mine because I like big chunks of onion.  You can use fresh onion, or minced and dried onion in this recipe.

Dump in your rice.  I use Uncle Ben's rice because it is plumper and just has a great consistency.  It does require you to cook your meatballs a little longer but believe me, it is worth it!

Mix this all together gently with your fingers but don't over mix as you don't want the meat to be tough.

Make into slightly larger than golf balls, meatballs.  Does that make sense?

In a large frying pan pour your oil and let it heat slightly.

Add your meatballs and let them cook until they are lightly browned on all sides. I apologize for the steam in this picture.

While your meatballs are browning, in a medium mixing bowl mix your 2 cans of tomato soup and 3 cups of hot water.  3 cups of water sounds like a lot but you cook the whole things for almost 2 hours or more and you are adding a whole cup of rice.  It thickens up beautifully so don't worry about it.  Also, your sauce is going to have lots of the extra rice and onions in it so it is going to be delicious to pour over top of your meatballs.  Mix it with a whisk so that you get all the lumps out.

Pour the sauce over the meatballs.

Cover with a lid and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours over low heat on the stove or until your rice is tender.  I baste the meatballs in the sauce about every 30 minutes and this helps to keep them moist if they aren't completely covered.

As it cooks the rice will start to pop out of the meatballs like little porcupine quills. Hence the name, Porcupine Meatballs.

If you want to cook them in the oven rather than on the stove top just make sure you are using an oven safe pan and lid and cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours.  A cast iron pan or Le Creuset pot works perfectly.  If you are in a hurry, turn the oven up to 350 degrees and it should be done in around 1 1/2 hours but watch it closely

I goofed again and we ate most of these meatballs before I could get a picture so I apologize for that as well. Please give these a try and let me know what you think.

Porcupine Meatballs
1 Cup Uncooked Rice (I like Uncle Ben's because it is plump)
2 Pounds Ground Beef
2 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
4 T Minced Onion
4 T Vegetable Oil
2 Cans Tomato Soup
2 Cups Hot Water

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the rice, beef, salt, pepper and onion.  Mix gently and shape into 24 balls.  Brown the meatballs in the oil in a heavy fry pay. In another bowl mix the tomato soup and water until well combined and add to the pan that has your browned meatballs in it.  Cover and let cook 1 1/2 hours over low heat or until the rice is tender.  If you do use Uncle Ben's rice it could take a little longer.

To cook in the oven - Put the meatballs and soup mixture in a casserole dish and cook in the oven for about 2 hours.  Bake at 300 degrees but if you are in a hurry turn the heat up to 350 degrees.

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