I posted on facebook that I was making my mom's recipe for 'Porcupine Meatballs with Milk Gravy' and someone commented on how they'd never eaten porcupines, and probably didn't want to. =0)
Porcupine meatballs are not made out of porcupines - though I can see why someone would think so! I didn't take time for photos, because 1) they were so good we gobbled them up, and 2) we were running late to get to a party so I ran out of time. But, I thought I'd give you the recipe anyway. It was good, like going home.
Most porcupine recipes you find have a tomato based sauce, but the one my mom made had milk gravy. This recipe was not in her recipe box when she died. I asked around and the only recipes I could find were the kind with the red sauce. (Maybe the meatball part of those recipes are the same, I'm not sure.) But Micheal asked my Gram at Christmas (I don't know why I didn't ask her before...?) and she said she makes them all the time! I did a little jig when I found out.
Porcupine Meatballs with Milk Gravy
(I made a pretty large batch so there would be left-overs)
1) Mix together:
2# lean hamburger
1.5 slice of bread soaked in milk
1/4 chopped larger white onion *
1/2+ C. raw long cook rice
2) Form meatballs. I made 15 large ones, about palm-size.
3) Brown them over medium heat in a fry pan with as little shortening as you need so they don't stick (1 Tbs?), until they are brown and mostly cooked through. The rice will still be raw.
4) Put meatballs in a roaster or cake pan when they are done browning.
5) Pour off all but 3-ish Tbs. of the grease. Scrape the bottom of the pan(s) to loosen meat bits, remove any burn flecks that you see from getting distracted by children yelling for help while you were browning the meatballs.
6) This is the in-exact part of a family recipe! Sprinkle flour in pan, I used a bit less than 1/4 C.(still on medium heat), to make a roux. Stir to break up lumps and let brown slightly. Add milk while continuing to stir. Add about a cup, see if it gets too thick, keep adding more until you get a nice gravy consistency. You should end up with a medium brown gravy.
7) Add one can of mushroom soup and stir well. (You wouldn't need this if you wanted to use all the drippings, but this is definitely healthier that keeping all the fat!) Add an extra 1/2 can of water to mix (since the raw rice is going to absorb it!)
8) Pour gravy over the meatballs. Cover.
9) Bake at 350-ish until the rice is done, about 45-60 minutes. Break a meatball open to check rice at the center for done-ness.
10) Serve with mashed potatoes, since there is delicious gravy!!
The meatballs will look sort of prickly since the rice near the outside of the meatball will have expanded as it cooked. I assume this is where the term 'porcupine' came from?
* Sick of the fight with the kids over onions in their food, I put the onion in the food processor and pulsed until it was pretty small bits. I put a quarter of the results in the meatball mix and I put the rest in 3 'plops' on a wax papered plate in the freezer until they were frozen through, then I put these in a ziplock bag in the freezer so next time we need onion, we can just grab one, defrost it quick, and the onion bits are too small for the kids to complain about, and you still get all the flavor. It works for me!
Grace ate two helpings of everything at this meal, even the cooked carrots that went with it. She was ready to refuse it, we had a talk about how that was unacceptable, and she ended up loving it! Score! Micheal and I just kept giving each other amazed looks over her head the whole meal. =0)