1 ½ lbs. beef (ground steak is ideal but hamburger serves very well)
½ cup rice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 can tomato soup
½ cup water
Wash rice thoroughly. Combine meat, rice, onion and seasonings. Shape into small balls, and place in baking dish or pressure cooker. Pour the soup and water over the meat balls and bake for 1 ½ hours in 350 ֯ F oven, basting with soup mixture frequently, or cook 10 minutes in pressure cooker at 15 lbs. pressure.
Being economically savvy was essential for Albertan households during the Dirty 30’s. Using what they had, families created meals that would both nourish and sustain themselves during hard times. One recipe that came from this era was Porcupine Meatballs.
This dish combines all the major food groups… meat, grains, vegetables (can you consider tomato soup a vegetable?) into one neat meal. It has an added ‘fun’ factor as the grains of rice poke out from the meatball making it look spikey, hence the name porcupine. This recipe with its everyday ingredients became a family favourite and has graced tables long after the Depression.
Families residing in Strathcona County were not spared from the effects of the depression. With a farming economy focusing on wheat and dairy, many families struggled to make ends meet. It is truly amazing how resilient these families were, using and reusing what little they had. We can appreciate women’s ingenuity by trying to feed their families wholesome meals, like porcupine meatballs.
The Strathma team sampled the recipe and it was interesting how the dish caused a similar reaction from all of us. We all compared it to our own family’s traditional meatball recipe. Comments were made about what extra seasoning we would add… paprika, garlic, parsley, cumin, or some type of vegetable. But no matter what we exclaimed, it took us to a place of nostalgia. Sitting around mom’s kitchen table sharing a simple meal with the family. It never ceases to amaze me how food can invoke those special memories.
We would serve this on Our Vintage Table … BUT make sure to zhuzh it up and make it your own, add some spice!!