Porcupine Balls

Well today the rain is back here on the San Francisco Peninsula and what is one important thing to have on a cold, rainy day?  Comfort food!  This recipe is a favorite of mine, which I first got to eat as a kid when I visited my grandparents in Avon, South Dakota.  Now the name may be deceiving, but I can assure you that no porcupines are actually used in the making of these.  They have their name of “Porcupine Balls” because they are meatballs cooked with rice in them, resembling a porcupine.

Now for the shocker…I actually have pictures to share for this recipe!  Can you believe it?

So the first thing you do with this recipe is mince a large white or yellow onion and divide it in half.


The next thing you do is get out a large mixing bowl and to it add 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (not the lean kind), 1/2 cup of uncooked Jasmine rice (the original recipe just calls for “rice”, but I’m a huge fan of jasmine rice and so I did make that change myself), half of the minced onion, 2 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 large egg and salt and pepper to taste.


Make sure your hands are thoroughly washed because next you’re going to be combining all of this and kneading it by and until it forms a smooth mix.



Next, form meatballs to 1 1/2″ in size and place onto a large plate.  Then, drizzle 1 Tbsp. oil (vegetable, olive, canola…whatever you’ve got) and turn the heat on to medium-high.  Place the meatballs into the heated skillet and brown them on all sides (but don’t cook all the way through.


Return the meatballs to a large plate and then drain off the hamburger fat.  Return the skillet to the burner.


To it, you’ll add a 15oz. can of tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups water, the other half of the minced onion and 2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce (I recommend Lee & Perrins).  Mix well and return the meatballs to the skillet.  Spoon sauce over each meatball.


Bring the sauce to a mild boil and then lower the heat to medium-low.


Cook covered for 45 minutes.  Spoon the sauce over the meatballs again and then serve!



1 1/2 lbs. Ground Beef (non-lean)
1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 white (or yellow) onion, minced and divided in half
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 large egg
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste.
1 Tbsp oil (vegetable, olive, canola…whichever)
1 – 15oz. can Tomato Sauce
1 1/4 cups water
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce


  1.  Wash hands thoroughly, as you will be mixing with your hands.
  2. Mine the onion and divide in half.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, the uncooked jasmine rice, half of the minced onion, the garlic powder, the egg, salt and fresh ground pepper.  Knead the ingredients with your hands until it becomes smooth (like when making meatloaf)
  4. Form meatballs 1 1/2″ in size and set on a large plate.
  5. Drizzle the oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high.  Add the meatballs and brown on all sizes (but do not cook all the way through).
  6. Return the browned meatballs to the large plate and drain all of the hamburger fat from the skillet.  Return the skillet to the burner.
  7. To the skillet, add the tomato sauce, water, the other half of the minced onion and the Worcestershire sauce.  Mix well and return the meatballs to the skillet, spooning sauce over each one.  Bring the sauce to a mild boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  8. Simmer for 45 minutes, covered.
  9. Spoon sauce over each meatball again and then serve!

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