Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

New Style Porcupine Meatballs


Buying ingredients to suit the household budget is a perennial challenge to all cooks. Growing up in the 1960s, my Dad received his salary fortnightly. Mum served “rissoles” (Aussie for meatballs) according to the budget. Rich man’s rissoles were made with minced steak, poor man’s rissoles with cheap butcher prepared sausage meat. I never cared much for the latter, until one day Mum announced that the poor man had struck it lucky. She pulled from the oven a steaming fragrant dish of “Porcupine Meatballs, ” a new recipe she’d made from a newspaper clipping.

Sausage meatballs, bulked up with steamed white rice, simmered in the oven in sweet creamy canned tomato soup made it an instant dinner table favourite.

Health awareness in 2013 means I’m discerning about the fat/salt/preservative content of my sausage and I prefer to cook with fresh tomatoes so this is how I prepare my Mum’s “Porcupine Meatballs ” for my grand daughters who love it as much as I did fifty years ago.

1 kg pork mince
1 cup cooked white quinoia
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stick celery, peeled and roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley, washed
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons fennel seed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup rice flour
500mls homemade tomato passata
1 cup stock
250g cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves

Pre heat the oven to 160C
In the food processor blitz the carrot, celery, garlic and parsley. Add half of the minced pork and process to a smooth paste. Tip the pork paste into a bowl, then knead in the quinoia, the remaining pork mince and fennel seeds. Season well. At this point I’d fry a little very small patty of meat to check the seasonings. Adjust if necessary.
Roll the prepared pork into balls about the size of a walnut, 2cm diameter.
Toss the meatball in rice flour to lightly coat then set aside.
In a wide shallow lidded casserole dish, heat the passata and stock, taste and season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a little sugar if the tomatoes are acidic. Add the meatballs in a single layer to the sauce, spooning a little sauce over each as you go.
Cover the casserole dish and bake in for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, add the cherry tomato halves and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes.
Scatter a generous chiffonade of fresh basil over over the meatballs and serve.
Delicious served with rocket (aragula) and Parmesan salad, crusty bread to mop up the sauce, and a decent glass of red wine.


About ladyredspecs

I wear two blogger hats, food and photos. My inner Melbourne kitchen, the heart of my home, is concurrently art/craft studio, workplace and sweatshop. I am a slave to my cooking passion and to my cameras. My love of good food holds me in a lifetime of bondage, as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I feel privileged that my sixty years of experiences have mirrored both the cultural homogenization of Australian food and the digital progression of photography. While my love of food is acquired and my creations transient, the artistic genes I inherited and my photographic record permanent. These two loves are a natural yin and yang. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating, respect for ingredients, an abhorrence of artificial additives and a good palate, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

22 comments on “New Style Porcupine Meatballs

  1. Pingback: Raining Meatballs with a Chance of Spaghetti | Sharing The Food We Love

  2. Leah
    November 10, 2013

    Made these today with the nieces and nephew and it was a hit! I went the cheats version (aka closer to Nan’s orginal I think) to save on time with an 11, 5 & 2 y.o. underfoot and cooking in someone else’s kitchen, but I’ll definitely make them again next time following your recipe properly. :-) xx

  3. StefanGourmet
    November 4, 2013

    This looks delicious! Like the use of stock and fresh tomatoes for the sauce. Interesting that you don’t brown the meatballs first.

    • ladyredspecs
      November 4, 2013

      Thanks, it’s a really nice dish. Poaching the meatballs is a trick I learned from a Calabrian friend, the meatballs stay soft and juicy and because there is no caramelization, the tomato flavour of the sauce stays fresh and lively.

  4. LFFL
    November 2, 2013

    Glad to know there’s no actual porcupines involved. :)

  5. ChgoJohn
    October 28, 2013

    I think pork meatballs have so much more flavor than those using any other type of meat, as I’m sure these do. Your use of quinoa here, rather than rice, is a nice substitution and I love your use of fresh cherry tomatoes in the sauce. They’ll add a freshness, as well as a bit of texture, to the dish. We would have devoured these as kids.

    • ladyredspecs
      October 28, 2013

      Thanks John, and believe me, the big kids devour them too!

  6. ohlidia
    October 27, 2013

    I love their name… porcupine meatballs! What child wouldn’t love them? They do look fabulous. And with the addition of quinoa too. Makes them healthy, no?

    • ladyredspecs
      October 27, 2013

      I guess when they have rice included, it’s supposed to stick out like porcupine quills! Ha, yes healthy AND delicious!

  7. Leah
    October 27, 2013

    Yum, I remember these :-) will have to try the updated version when we’re babysitting next weekend x

  8. Dolly Rubiano
    October 26, 2013

    They look delicious! I’ve been wanting to make (chicken) meatballs cooked in tomato sauce. Your recipe is worth a try!

    • ladyredspecs
      October 26, 2013

      They were delicious. Try making them with chicken, I think it would work really well! Let me know if you do try them 😄

  9. Darya
    October 26, 2013

    Yummy, I love your idea of adding quinoa to the meatball mixture (though I occasionally add rice in mine)! Must have been delicious!

    • ladyredspecs
      October 27, 2013

      The quinoia worked really well in the meatballs! I am always surprised how good this tastes….

  10. Transplanted Cook
    October 26, 2013

    I remember these rice filled meatballs from my own childhood in the 60s in the USA. A blast of nostalgia! Yours look delicious! – a must try.

  11. dishnthekitchen
    October 26, 2013

    Those are definitely more photogenic than porcupine meatballs. I tried to photo my tried and true porcupine recipe and I thought they were too ugly to post. Putting quinoa in there updates the recipe and make it more photogenic! I didn’t know you made porcupines in Australia…never heard anyone mention them when we were there.
    And it took me a while to realize what rissoles were lol.

    • ladyredspecs
      October 26, 2013

      Thanks! Unfortunately quirky words like rissole are dying out as our language becomes more global, but they taste good whatever you call them!

      • dishnthekitchen
        October 29, 2013

        Really? you think so? All the Aussies I met still spoke like True Blue Aussies ;) but I know the younger generation is much influenced by American tv and movies…

      • ladyredspecs
        October 29, 2013

        Fair dinkum cobber , three more you rarely hear. It means I’m serious, friend! 😀

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This entry was posted on October 26, 2013 by in FODMAP Diet Friendly, Food, Gluten Free, Light Savoury Dishes, Pork and veal and tagged , , , .

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