My wife has gone to LA to make a presentation at a conference so I’m feeling a little lonely and vulnerable this weekend and my thoughts have turned to one of the staples of the cuisine of my childhood: porcupine balls. We had these frequently when I was a kid growing up. Did everyone?
No actual porcupines have been injured in the making of this dish.
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. paprika (use only Hungarian paprika!)
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped green peppers (optional)
¼ cup uncooked rice
2 cups tomato sauce
- Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt, paprika, pepper, onion, and optional green pepper.
- Roll the mixture lightly into balls.
- Roll the balls in uncooked rice.
- Bring the tomato sauce up to the simmer in a large pot.
- Add the porcupine balls.
- Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
This recipe is derived from one in Joy of Cooking, natch. Interestingly I’ve found recipes in a half dozen different cuisines that closely resemble it. It must be a universal.
Does anyone else have favorite childhood recipes? I once heard a Chinese poet quoted as having said “Patriotism consists in large part of the good things to eat one had as a child”.