Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Porcupine Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

For years, I've been fascinated by the idea of porcupine meatballs.  A mixture of ground meat and rice, when it cooks supposedly the rice sticks out all over, making the meatball look like it has quills.  Yesterday, I finally got off my tail and made some.

I started with this recipe but, as you've probably noticed by now, I'm not capable of leaving a recipe as is.  Besides, we just had spaghetti and meatballs late last week, so I knew I didn't want the tomato-based sauce.  I was really just looking for a meatball recipe.  I made a few tweaks, and here's where we landed.   I served it over brown rice.  Hubby said it tastes just like salisbury steak.  Daughter tried to convince me she doesn't like gravy, but one bite and she was asking for more.  It was good.

Porcupine Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy
Serves 8 (6 meatballs per serving)

2 pounds lean ground beef (I used 93/7)
2/3 cups raw white rice
1 medium onion, minced (divided)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 envelope brown gravy mix (I like McCormicks, no MSG)
1 cup water
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I like the Pacific Natural brand in the little boxes)
1 can sliced mushrooms (or you could use 1 cup fresh, I only had canned on hand)
Hot cooked brown rice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, thoroughly combine beef, rice, half of the onion, milk, eggs, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Form into 48 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (I use my cookie scoop for this).  Place them on a parchment-lined (or well greased) baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until well browned.

At this point, you can divide the batch in half and freeze some for later, which is what I do (the rice won't be fully cooked yet, so I put a note on the bag that it requires simmering).

Put the meatballs in a large deep-sided skillet or a slow cooker. 

To make the gravy, combine the gravy mix, water, soup, the remaining onion, and mushrooms. Pour over the meatballs.  In the slow cooker, cook on low for 6 - 8 hours.  In a pan, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice in the meatballs is cooked through.

Serve over hot cooked brown rice.

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