A Comforting Old Friend – Porcupine Meatballs


My mom could make a package of hamburger stretch so far it would cry “Uncle!” She was a master at feeding the six of us with a finesse that never let on that we really didn’t have a lot of money. In typical weeknight fashion, she’d whip out her trusty pressure cooker and something wonderful and comforting would emerge in record time. So much so that one of the first things I ever bought for my kitchen was a Presto Pressure Cooker, just like the one my mom had.

I used that pot constantly. For awhile, it was the largest pot I had and everything was cooked in it – pressured or not. When my kids were little, it was instrumental in doing the very same for me as it did for my mom. Quick, economical meals that could stretch far into our budget. It was my favorite appliance and the one I couldn’t do without.

Years passed and my kids grew up and out. While I use the pressure cooker sometimes, it’s rather gone by the wayside in exchange for newer, more modern cooking techniques and styles. The stews and braises don’t always suit an attempt at lighter cooking.

I was feeling nostalgic, the other day. Reminiscing about childhood and all the memories I have of my family. Used to be that when my brother came home to visit from the Army, mom would make his favorite — Porcupine Meatballs. As soon as I thought of it, my mouth was ready for that old standby.

I got out my cookbook. The one that was used more than any other in my kitchen pre-internet and culinary school. It sure shows it’s age and how much it was loved, doesn’t it?

While the recipe was always perfect the way it was, I changed it just a bit. My husband, son and I ate them with great delight and we all wondered why we didn’t have them more often. My son had told me he wouldn’t be around for dinner that night, but when he realized what we were having, he changed his plans! I love knowing that my kids have favorites from their childhood, too!

Try this one on a cool night or a retro night or just a night you need a quick, economical meal.

One note: For my tomato liquid, I used the wonderful Roasted Tomato and Soup that I had canned from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s site. It is an amazing soup!

Porcupine Meatballs
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6

My pressure cooker is the old kind; it has only one pressure. If you have an electric pressure cooker or one that has high or low pressures, the instructions may be different for you. Please check with your pressure cooker’s guide for more information.
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • ¾ cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1½ tablespoons minced onion
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce, juice, Bloody Mary Mix or soup
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seeds

  1. Combine all ingredients, except liquids. Shape into meatballs. Heat the liquids in the pressure cooker and drop in meatballs. Close cover securely (after removing and replacing the seal to make sure it has no debris underneath.) When steam begins to actively vent from the vent pipe, place pressure regulator on the vent pipe, turn the stove to medium low and cook for 12 minutes with the pressure regulator rocking slowly. Remember, it doesn’t have to be rocking like crazy! After 12 minutes, release pressure at once following your cooker’s manufacturer’s guidelines. Serve over steamed rice or polenta.



  1. Those look delicious! I love pressure cookers too, but I don’t use mine often enough.

    • snappyservicecafe says:

      Thanks, Lisa! It’s easy to forget about them, I think. I always love what I cook when I use it, though. 😉

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