Porcupine Meatballs with Red Wine Gravy

A childhood memory…

Ground beef made its way to our table many times during my youth as Momma sometimes pinched pennies when times got a little tight. Just like then, today I use it too although I think Momma would shriek merciless at the butcher if she saw today’s prices. I know I do when I look at each package. But in all, a pound or so of lean ground beef, along with the ground sausage in this recipe, will feed about six folks or enough for a second night of leftovers for us.

Momma called these porcupine balls and made these with uncooked rice simmering them in a broth spiked with a little wine for a long period of time. I do not have her recipe, but I remember the taste very well. This is pretty close yet made my way, with cooked rice and baked in the oven to remove as much of the grease as possible. The delicious wine based gravy is similar to hers and makes for one fine meal served with my favorite, Momma’s Lumpy Mashed Potatoes. Enjoy!

Porcupine Meatballs with Red Wine Gravy

1 pound lean ground beef (10 to 15% fat)
1/2 package (4 oz) bulk pork country sausage, like Alabama’s Dean Sausage Co
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup cooked cold rice, seasoned
1 teaspoon Season-all
2 1/2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup dry red wine
2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Season the cold rice with a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, a dash of each: ground thyme, ground basil and granulated garlic.

Crumble beef in large bowl. Add the chopped onion, parsley and seasoned rice on top. Press the sausage across the top and into the mixture. Sprinkle the pepper and Season-all across the top and combine mixture well.

Form mixture into 1 1/2-inch diameter balls (about 20). Place meatballs on a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes or until brown. Remove and set meatballs aside to drain.

Melt butter or oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir until flour turns a light tan color, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to medium and cook to a dark brown color stirring all while, about 10 minutes. Combine the wine with the tomato paste in small bowl and whisk to blend. Slowly whisk in the beef broth to the skillet and bring to simmer, followed with the wine mixture. Continue to cook until gravy thickens slightly stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; add the meatballs to the skillet and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes or cooked noodles.


  1. I like that you used cooked rice. I have had bad luck with using raw rice in hamburger...and there's nothing quite so embarrassing as serving crunchy rice!

  2. We all need to pinch the pennies these days with rising gasoline costs, groceries, etc. This is a saver for me. I went through my "Drick file" and was all prepared to make your granola crust yogurt apple pie.....alas, I waited too long to try this recipe as all the granola I am finding has nuts. Doug can no longer eat them so.....disappointment.

    But he can eat these meatballs...yum!

  3. Love the name of the dish :) Great comfort food recipe for sure and I know the boys would love this...
    Hope your having a great week

  4. Love the name! And the dish, of course—I love meatballs and I'm sure the red wine gives them fine flavor! Suppose it would do no harm if you fried the meatballs instead of baking them?

  5. Oh yummy Drick! Why is it that we fondly remember the taste of mom's food yet prepare it our way?? I do exactly the same thing. This is one I'll surely be trying!

  6. This dish looks delicious and I would put this in my comfort food category. Thanks so much for this recipe.

  7. What a great idea; serving meatballs and gravy over mashed potatoes. I don't know why everyone puts them on pasta when gravy and mashed taters were made for each other.

  8. This sounds like something my mom made, too...I'll have to put this on our dinner rotation :)

  9. This is fabulous. I love it.

    You are spot on with recounting wonderful memories of what mom's make :)

  10. Hahaha you know when I saw the name of this I thought - Oh boy, Drick has gone and made meatballs out of porcupine meat. Hey, I know people in Louisiana eat nutria, so why not porcupine in Alabama? But I was wrong I see!! These look/sound delicious, I have become a meatball fan (again) now that I'm back on the meat eating wagon. And LOVE the sauce.

  11. These meatballs look fantastic and the gravy sounds fab! Love the addition of the rice with the meat, too! Happy St. Paddy's Day! Cheers!

  12. At first I was like "porcupine?" lol, I love how your mom used cooked rice, kinda like my mom when she makes albondigas..but your has a great rich sauce...perfect with lumpy taters.


  13. I'm drooling over that sauce! Beautiful!! Porcupine?! hehe :)

  14. MMM, I'd love these. May run to the grocery for some sausage instead of using my ground beef for stroganoff tonight... Depends on when I get out of here :-) And, BTW, I'm glad to know you're a lumpy potato guy. They're the best!! Kate @ kateiscooking


Post a Comment

Popular Posts