porcupine meatballs... where's the beef FROM?

     When did buying meat become so scary? When reading books or articles by John Robbins or Michael Pollan, being a vegetarian looks better and better. What's an omnivore to do?
Feeding grain to cattle has got to be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization. -John Robbins
      When I was growing up, hamburger meat was a staple in our house. My mom's go-to recipe book was 21 New Ways to Serve Hamburger, printed by Hunt's Tomato Sauce. She made nearly everything out of a pound of ground beef, an eight ounce can of tomato sauce... and an onion.
    These days, when I go to the food store to buy meat for The Fam, I am on the lookout for affordable, grass-fed or organic beef. Yes, I know... saying organic with affordable is an oxymoron. 
     Last time I was in Publix, I bought a pound of grass-fed beef from nearby White Oak Pastures and it cost me around six dollars and change. At our local Farmers' Market, the price per pound is a bit cheaper if you buy more than one. 
     Here's a simple recipe for porcupine meatballs, adapted from said book. It was one of my most favorite meals when I was a kid. (They remind me of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle by Beatrice Potter, one of the very best children's books, ever.)
     I've added a bit of fresh spinach to sneak in an extra serving of veggies. You could also substitute 1 cup grated zucchini.
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup raw rice, washed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 c. chopped, fresh spinach leaves
2 T. finely minced, fresh Italian parsley
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 c. stock, chicken or beef
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
In a small, non-stick skillet, saute onion and garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil for a couple of minutes to soften. Add spinach and saute until wilted.
In a large bowl, blend meat, rice, cooked veggies and remaining ingredients. Form into balls. Bake in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Place in skillet and add tomato sauce, stock and Worcestershire sauce. Season with more pepper if desired. Simmer for 45 minutes in a covered pan. Check for seasonings and texture of rice. Simmer a few minutes longer, if rice isn't tender . Serve with a salad or steamed veggies.
Mrs. Tiggywinkle


  1. These look fabulous, Susan! My kids will gobble these up! Whenever I have left over filling for dolmades and cook it like these, my children go crazy over them! Must try recipe. :)

  2. alrighty, kay... now i'll need YOUR recipe;)