I was lucky enough to grow up with a mom who was a fabulous cook. Of course as a kid, I didn't always appreciate all of her culinary creations. As an adult, I often wonder how in the world she managed to teach preschoolers all day AND come home and get hot meal on the table for us every night. Simply amazing. I struggle to get dinner on the table even on the days that I'm home all day!
One of the meals that I can remember really enjoying as a child was porcupine meatballs. I used to loved those spiky little balls of meat. I had completely forgotten about porcupine meatballs until I saw a recipe for them in my new Cook's Country magazine. I was was really hoping that they would taste just like I remember them from my childhood. Here goes nothing...
3/4 cup long grain white rice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, mined
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
15 ounce can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
2 slices hearty white bread (I used hamburger buns instead)
1/2 cup whole milk
12 ounces bratwurst, casings removed
12 ounces 90 percent lean ground beef
Bring 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add rice and return to a boil. Simmer, covered for 8 minutes. Drain rice through a strainer and rinse with cold water.
Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and cook until lightly browned.
Stir in garlic, paprika and red pepper flakes. Cook 30 seconds.
Stir in broth, tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
Heat oven to 350. Mash together bread and milk.
Add bratwurst, beef, rice, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Use an ice cream scoop to shape meat into balls. Place them in a 9 x13 dish.
Cover dish with foil and bake 1 hour.
Here's the verdict - they didn't exactly taste like I remember my mom's tasting. They were a bit on the spicy side for my daughter - but still good. I liked the sense of nostalgia that I felt when I at this dish from my childhood. There were plenty of porcupine meatballs leftover so I tucked the leftovers away in the freezer for another day.