Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Porcupine meatballs

I had never made porcupine meatballs before last week, and I don’t recall ever eating them before, either.

Just a mention of the meatballs, made with rice that pokes out like a porcupine’s quills, was enough to make me hungry for them, though.

To come up with a recipe to try, I browsed the Internet, studying recipes for porcupine meatballs. Most recipes I found used ground beef to make the meatballs that were then browned in a skillet and simmered in sauce.

But I wanted to make turkey meatballs; my husband and I enjoy several recipes with turkey meatballs, so I knew this was a good option for us. And I didn’t want to make the mess or take the extra step to brown them.

It was important, also, for the recipe to remind me of meatloaf because I wanted mashed potatoes to go with this. I figured if I chose turkey over beef I could splurge and make mashed potatoes!

I totally played around with this recipe, thinking of what I like about the meatballs and meatloaf that I make. I ended up using simple ingredients, such as onion, ketchup, salt and pepper. I was out of green pepper or I would have probably added that as well. I also thought about the sauce and what I thought would make it extra good. I added a little brown sugar to the tomato sauce for a delicious, slightly sweet flavor.

When it came to how to cook the meatballs, I resorted to the method I use for my favorite turkey meatball soup. After thoroughly mixing the turkey mixture, I made the meatballs with a small scoop and then dropped them one by one into a pot of simmering sauce. I made sure the meatballs simmered for 15 minutes after the last meatball was dropped in.

This method works well for turkey meatballs because they don’t produce the fat you’d have in a beef meatball, therefore, the sauce isn’t greasy.

I started worrying while I cooked that the dinner wouldn’t be good. I was so hungry and wanted to surprise my husband with a new and delicious dish. As soon as the meatballs were ready, I tried one, thinking if they weren’t good, I could just dump the entire thing and Reggie would never know I had cooked them.

Well, let’s just say I didn’t dump them out! These meatballs were exactly what I wanted. The flavor combination was perfect, and they were extra delicious served with mashed potatoes.

Reggie enjoyed them just as much as I did. We had plenty of leftovers, which we reheated two days later and shared with our son. The leftovers didn’t disappoint either.

One of the best things about this recipe is how simple it is and how quickly it comes together. It took me around 30 minutes from beginning to end to make the meatballs. I had started the potatoes boiling before I assembled the meatballs, so the total preparation time for this meal was probably around 45 minutes. It was time well-spent!

Turkey Porcupine Meatballs

  • Package of ground turkey (the brand I buy measures 1.3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked Minute rice (heaping 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 15-ounce can and 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Mix tomato sauce, water and brown sugar in Dutch oven or other large pot and heat.

While the sauce starts to simmer, mix turkey, rice, salt, pepper, onion and ketchup until combined.

Using a small scoop or using your hands, form small meatballs. As you make them, drop into the simmering sauce. Once the last one is dropped in, simmer an additional 15 minutes or until cooked through. Simmer with lid on for half the time.

Delicious with mashed potatoes.


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