Meatballs – it’s one of those magical dinners that everyone in my family eats.
I’ve been making this simple ‘porcupine’ meatball recipe for years and remember eating it often as a kid too. It’s not hard to make, but it does take a little time and a little forethought – both things I don’t always have. So recently I decided to try making our favourite meatball recipe in bulk and freezing them, and it worked a treat!
Now once a month I enlist a child or two to help me make up a HUGE batch of meatballs. I flash freeze them, and then all I have to do is dump the required number of balls into my lovely cast iron baking dish, cover them with tomato soup and put them in oven for a few hours. It’s almost as easy has having take out!
Over the years we’ve added extra veggies to our meatballs recipe, but my kids still love to roll them in rice so that we get a thick, almost risotto like, sauce to go along with them. You could skip the rice if you like, and cook them ‘naked’, They are great with some pasta or fresh crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
- 500 gms minced beef (or any other minced meat you like)
- I medium onion
- 2 carrots
- stalks from one head of brocoli
- 4 slices of bread or approx 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs of your choice
- 1 cup of uncooked rice to roll meatballs in – optional
- 1 tin of tomato soup and enough water to make up approx 1 litre of soup, or home made tomato soup watered down slightly to make 1 litre.
- Whiz the onion, carrots and broccoli stalks in the food processor until they are a fine pulp.
- If you are using fresh bread add the bread slices a little at a time the veggie mix and whiz them until they are tiny crumbs and well combined. If using packaged breadcrumbs add them to the veggies and mix well.
- Add the veggie and bread crumb mix to the minced meat along with the egg and herbs and mix well, you might need to use your hands to get a nice even mix. If the mixture is too wet add the flour a table spoon at a time, and/or more breadcrumbs until the mixture comes together and rolls well into balls.
- Line a large tray with non stick paper and place the rice into a small dish. Roll spoonfuls of the meat mixture into tight balls, coat with a little rice and place them on the tray.
- Continue until you have a tray full of rice covered meatballs, make sure they are not touching each other, then cover with plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer for an hour or so, or until they are well frozen on the outside.
- Once frozen put the meatballs into a sealed freezer bag and place into the freezer until needed.
- To cook the meatballs – grease a large baking dish (preferably one with a lid) and pop in as many frozen meatballs as you need.
- Make up enough tomato soup to fill the dish and cover the top of the meatballs.
- Place the dish of meatballs into the fridge for a few hours until you are ready to cook them, or add approx 45 minutes to the cooking time.
- Cook the meatballs in a moderate oven, with the lid on, for at least 1.5 hours, or until they are cooked through and the rice is soft, adding more liquid if needed.
I’ve tried my best to get the quantities close to what we use, but this is a bit of a ‘play it by ear’ recipe, so feel free to change it up and add more or less of things as needed. You can also play around with the cooking time a bit too. You can cook them in a low oven for a long time with the lid on, making them great for nights when we are out late with after school activities.