About This Recipe
Nobody knows the origins of this recipe, but similar recipes have been used to make meat loaves and pates for hundreds of years. This recipe is also frequently known as "porcupine meatballs," because of the rice sticking out of the meatballs once they are cooked. They are an easy supper to make because all you really need to accompany them is a vegetable and maybe some bread--the starch is already in the meatballs. Whether you call these ground beef and rice balls or porcupine meatballs, you will have a filling and delicious dinner.
Gather Your Ingredients
Assemble 1 lb. lean hamburger, 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice (don't use brown), 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped, 1 rib of celery, finely chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, 1/8 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 1 egg, 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce, 2 cans stewed diced tomatoes (not drained), 1 cup water and 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce. Gather additional seasonings if you like, such as oregano, basil, thyme, chili powder, fennel seed or Tabasco sauce. Decide if you want to cook in the oven or on the stove. You will need 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil if you plan to cook on top of the stove.
Make the Meatballs
Combine the hamburger, rice, milk, onion, celery, garlic, pepper, salt and egg in a medium bowl. Add additional seasonings, if you are using them. Mix very thoroughly. Divide the mixture into quarters, then make four meatballs from each quarter. You will have 16 large meatballs.
Make the Sauce
Combine the tomato sauce, stewed diced tomatoes, water and Worcestershire sauce. Add extra seasonings or ingredients as desired. Besides the seasonings, you can also add some chopped onion and celery to the sauce if you choose.
Cook in the Oven
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you are preparing the meatballs and sauce. Place the meatballs in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer to brown.
Cook on the Stove
If cooking on the stove, heat two tbsp. of salad oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the meatballs over medium heat. Handle the meatballs carefully to avoid breaking them. Add the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
Serve the Meatballs
Serve the meatballs and sauce as desired. Many people put them on top of cooked rice, but they also go well with mashed potatoes or noodles. Add a green vegetable and some crusty bread for a delicious, filling meal. Any leftover meatballs will make a fantastic meatball sandwich.