Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baked Porcupine Balls (Meatballs)

I feel like I owe all of you an apology. I have made this recipe more than a dozen times since I've actively kept this blog up and not once have I posted it, despite it being the recipe I use for potluck events, treats for P and I, depression food (meaning, "I'm sad today so I will eat meatballs"), and really every other event I can think of. I never posted it because I always thought I had posted it already. I figured there was no way I hadn't posted one of my most loved comfort foods. But there it is - I hadn't posted it. So today I am doing so.

I started making this dish somewhere between 7th and 9th grade, and over the years it evolved from a much less flavourful, not-quite-cooked-through-rice thing to a more complicated, but far better staple dish. It has some exotic ingredients, but it's not necessary to keep them in there if you don't have them, don't like them, don't want them, or just find them too expensive. Anyway, I really hope you enjoy this!

Sauce:


24 ounces tomato sauce
15-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 small can chopped olives
large pinch ground bay leaf, or 1 small bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic granules or one mashed clove roasted garlic
1/2 teaspoon each: dried thyme, ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon each: dried basil, salt
2 tablespoons dried onions, or dried chives (I couldn't find the chives, which is what I normally use)
pinch sugar
generous pinch truffle powder (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup truffle-infused vodka* (or just water or regular vodka)

Combine and simmer 1-2 hours.

*To make this, get some Oregon truffles (they're much, much cheaper) and a jug of vodka. Slice the truffles thinly and stuff inside the bottle (after you've already made yourself a drink, of course). Leave in a dark place for a few months to infuse. This stuff lasts FOREVER and can add a little truffle flavour to things when you don't want to buy the stupidly expensive fungi for other applications.

Meatballs:

2 pounds ground beef (I always use the full-fat stuff)
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked white rice
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
splash lemon juice
2 eggs

Mozzarella or other cheeses you prefer (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter together. When the butter is melted, put in the onion and a little salt and let it cook over low heat until your house smells like hash browns (15-20 minutes). Put the onions in a huge bowl and add the rice. Mix together, then add salt, pepper, poppy seeds, garlic powder and lemon juice. Mix well and add meat, plus a little more salt and pepper. Mix well again, then add the eggs and once again, mix well. Using the remaining olive oil, oil the bottom of a 12X9 pan (you can use a smaller pan if you want and just smoosh the meatballs all together, which is what I normally do but today I wanted to use the big pan because it's pretty new so I'm still excited about it). Make little meat balls, just smaller than golf balls, and put them in the pan. Pour the sauce on top and bake for one hour, covered loosely in foil. Remove the foil and cover the top with cheese, then bake another 15 minutes or until the cheese is nicely browned. Serves around 8 people.

2 comments:

  1. this looks very good. proper comfort food.

    I love this Vodka Truffle idea. I must try that.

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  2. Thanks, Kano. It's perfect comfort food. The truffle vodka is really wonderful for getting some truffle flavour without huge expense, and also for truffle flavour out of season!

    ReplyDelete