Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's for dinner: Porcupine Meatballs

     No, not really, but this is a great cheap recipe to feed the whole family with 3 ingredients. In my house it is called "Porkie-pine Meatballs" because we were never sophisticated enough to pronounce porcupine correctly. (kind of like I still say kindie-garden for kindergarten.) But I digress.
    Porkie-Pine Meatballs are called such because they are meatballs rolled in rice. As they cook the rice begins to stick out of the ball like the quills of a porcupine. Cute, no? I have never had anyone say they didn't like it, and kids think it is cool because it has a weird name, but is really just meatloaf in ball form). Plus it is quick. Always great when there are complaining mouths to feed.
     I have to give all the credit for inventing this recipe to my wonderful mother (Hey Mom, look I'm blogging!) She invented this recipe back when I was a youngin' (another Texanism) to feed a family of 4 when my dad was bringing home a sailor's wage in the early 80's (zilch). We had been living off of food with tomato based sauces for waaaay too long (aka broke food) and craved something different yet within the $1 price range. She stumble upon a forgotten can of Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup in the pantry and made a go of 1lb of beef, a bag of rice, and a can of said soup. As the fiscal situation has greatly improved, so has the ingredients. However, keep in mind when money is tight, you can always revert back to those three ingredients.

"Porkie-Pine" Meatballs
1 Large can of Campbells Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (or 1 small can if cooking for two)
1 lb of ground beef for every 2 people (i.e. 1lb for 2, 2lbs for feeding 4 etc.)
           (You can sub ground turkey with good and healthier results)
1/4 cup of dry white rice, rinsed (or more if you are feeding more)
1/8 cup of dried onion flakes ( more or fresh onions if your group likes onion)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the can of condensed soup in a pressure cooker on the stove. (If you do not have a pressure cooker you can use a glass baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees) DO NOT ADD WATER to the soup; leave it condensed. Or you can add a little water, who am I foolin'?

Put the ground meat of your choice in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix with your hands. Form tennis-ball sized meatballs with your hands and place in the pot/dish. If using the pressure cooker, follow your manufacturer's instructions so the thing doesn't explode. We cooked ours on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. They will come out moist but not soggy. In the oven it's a little more hit and miss. Usually about 20 minutes. If making in the oven, be sure to cover the meatballs with a spoonful of soup to keep them from drying out in the oven. Serve on a bed of rice with a little soup "gravy." Serve with any veggies you have available if you like. (ours was always corn and Ranch Style Beans. Oh and a biscuit. Enjoy.

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