So this is an Israeli version of homey-hibernation-mode meatballs that was passed along from one of the best Israeli home cooks I know (a close second to my grandma). Super easy, extremely fast, and delicious… well apparently-I’m still vegetarian. In a fresh tomato sauce and made in a flash they are ideal for quick hearty meals or to feed the little ones. In Hebrew they are called Ktzizot (keh-tzi-tzoat) Kipod (keep-od), which translates to porcupine meatballs. They are called this because of the way the rice pops out of the meat when they are done, reminiscent of the quills of the cute little animal often seen scurrying around Israel.
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Recipe – Porcupine Meatballs (makes around 12 meatballs)
For the sauce:
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped to chunks
1/2 onion, chopped 150 grams ( or small container)
2 cups water
Seasoning to taste- try: salt, pepper, sweet or spicy paprika
Here we used black pepper, salt, one adobo chili and sweet paprika (for a little mexican flair)
For the meatballs:
1/2 kilo (approx 1 lb) groundbeef
1/3 cup uncooked rice (any will do, but long grain is more aesthetic) here we used Persian rice
up to 1/3 cup bread crumbs/stale bread made to crumbs (optional! – can use less for a more meaty ball or full amount for a more airy/less dense ball)
1. Make the Sauce
- Heat a large pot on medium
- When hot add olive oil – just enough to cover the bottom
- Add onions and stir to coat
- Add the tomatoes and stir again, cook 2 minutes, until the tomatoes juice
- Stir the tomato paste into the tomatoes
- Add 2 cups of water and season to taste
- Let cook on a medium flame while you make the meatballs
2. Make the Meatballs
- In a large bowl. using your hands, mix together the beef, bread crumbs, rice, salt and pepper until well combined.
- Roll them into golf sized balls and gently place them into the sauce
- Cover the pot and cook on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes.
You know they are done when the rice is plump and sticking out of the meat.
3. Remove from heat and enjoy!