Skillet Porcupine Meatballs

My oldest daughter happens to be in that stage where she will maybe eat five different meals (fun, right?). I’m constantly searching for ways to change up the foods she will eat to avoid dullness in my meal planning. Porcupine meatballs was one of my favorite meals as a child. My sister and I used to watch these cook in the oven and they made the most dreamy aroma. I’ve tweaked this recipe to fit more of my family’s flavor palate, but I still reminisce over my mom’s cooking.

Porcupine meatballs have actually been around for a long time. The originated in the depression era as a way to “beef up” meatballs without having to use so much ground beef. I find them an extremely easy weeknight meal as you add the rice uncooked and pop them in the oven to let the magic happen. As the meatballs cook the rice will expand and peek out – looking like quills (hence the name porcupine).

I recommend using a leaner ground beef (I used 10%). If you are wanting to make these with ground turkey or venison you will need to add an egg to the meatball mixture. Also, you will want to make sure your rice is uncooked. Rice will continue to expand as these cook creating extremely dense meatballs. You want these to end up tender and fully absorbing all the flavor. They should fall apart when you cut into them and essentially melt in your mouth.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water – divided
  • 15oz tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce – divided
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon steak seasoning (I used Black Pearl’s Steak & Brisket Seasoning: https://www.blackpearlrubs.com/products/steak-brisket)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Oil 10” cast iron skillet and set aside.
  3. Mix together ground beef, onion, rice, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt and form into 2 tablespoon sized meatballs.
  4. Place meatballs evenly into cast iron skillet.
  5. In a separate bowl mix together water, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar and pour over top of the meatballs.
  6. Cover the skillet with tinfoil and bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove tinfoil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately over rice or potatoes.

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