Porcupine Meatballs in Sauerkraut

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I'd never heard of a porcupine meatball until I was watching an episode of Southern at Heart one day on the Food Network. Damaris is one of my favorite food personalities. I love all of her recipes and that her kitchen has damn near everything stored in mason jars. (I think I must have been a 1950's southern housewife in another life)

Of all the strange things for my vegetable hating husband to like, he absolutely loves sauerkraut and aside from pork and sauerkraut or Reuben sandwiches, I really don't know of any other recipes out there that include it, so this one caught my eye. I've heard of putting rice into meatballs but never of mixing together tomato sauce and sauerkraut. Of course I had to try it out!



Porcupine Meatballs in Sauerkraut
Source: Damaris Phillips, Southern at Heart
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 tsp. +1 tbsp. coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup uncooked instant rice
    • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 15 oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce
    • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
    • 1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
    • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella 
Directions:
1. Melt the teaspoon of coconut oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until you can handle them.
2. Transfer the cooked onion to a large bowl. Add in the ground beef, beaten egg, garlic, rice, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Form into 20 evenly sized meatballs, about the size of 2-tablespoons each.
3. Melt the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat and add in half of the meatballs. Cook until browned on all sides then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining meatballs. Cooking them all at once would crowd the pan and they wouldn't cook evenly. Drain all the grease from the Dutch oven.
4. Place the Dutch oven back over medium heat and stir in the tomato sauce. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the browned bits of meat from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the sauerkraut and Italian seasoning and then return the meatballs to the pot in single layer. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
5. Serve the meatballs with the sauce and divide the shredded mozzarella on top.

I treated this almost as a spaghetti and meatballs type of dish, by adding the cheese on top. Instead of pasta, I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans. The meatballs were delicious and SO filling because of the rice inside.



If you find that the tomato sauce is too acidic for your tastes with the combination of the sour sauerkraut, add in 1 tablespoon of sugar and then adjust from there. I think the mashed potatoes helped to round this out because it wasn't too acidic for either of us at all and I really enjoyed this dish. 

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