Our Paleo Family

Porcupines (Paleo, Whole 30, Instant Pot)

I should start by saying that no real, live porcupines were harmed in the making of this recipe. The name comes from the spike-y appearance of the meatballs once they’re cooked if you use real rice, rather than cauliflower rice, in the recipe.

The story with this recipe goes like this: My dad was cooking dinner for my mom way back before my brother and I were even in the picture. It was time to remove the pan of porcupines from the oven and the pot holder dad picked up was wet, though he didn’t realize it. When he grabbed hold of the hot pan with the wet pot holder, heavy pan full of food in his grip, he let go in such an abrupt way that porcupines and their sauce flew everywhere, floor to ceiling. Whenever we ate this dish growing up or whenever I mention it now, I am reminded of that story. I can only imagine the mess! The lesson here is that a wet pot holder is good for nothing. Be safe. But don’t let that horror story deter you from making this recipe.

If you have an Instant Pot (this is the model I have), this is a 30 minute meal. Without the Instant Pot, it will take about an hour in the oven. The flavors are delicious no matter how you make it and if you have really good quality bone broth (which I recommend), this dish is very filling and can almost stand alone. Just a simple salad on the side is all you need. When I took these pictures, I served this with a variety of leftover roasted veggies, simply because that’s what I had on hand.

If you feel like taking a trip back to the 70s (in a good way), make these porcupines. Your family will be glad you did!

Porcupines (Paleo, Whole 30, Instant Pot)
Print Recipe
Meatballs studded with rice and simmered in a rich tomato sauce.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Porcupines (Paleo, Whole 30, Instant Pot)
Print Recipe
Meatballs studded with rice and simmered in a rich tomato sauce.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Turn Instant Pot to Sauté More and add oil. Chop onion and add to oil. Sprinkle on a tiny bit of salt and pepper and stir.
  2. Chop additional vegetables if you want to add those to your dish - they're completely optional. Now add those to your onions and stir. Keep stirring this occasionally as you prepare the meatballs.
  3. Microwave cauliflower rice in its bag for two minutes.
  4. To a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, cauliflower rice (or regular rice if using), salt, pepper and celery salt. Mix this thoroughly with your hands and form into meatballs about the size of ping pong balls or a little larger. This should yield about 10 meatballs.
  5. Once you've made the meatballs, add the broth and tomato sauce to the veggies in the Instant Pot and scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add coconut aminos and honey, if using and stir to combine.
  6. Turn Instant Pot off. Gently nestle meatballs in the sauce and gently turn them so they each have a coating of sauce all over.
  7. Secure lid and set Instant Pot to Manual, High pressure, 15 minutes.
  8. Once the cooking time has finished, do a quick pressure release and carefully remove the lid. Turn Instant Pot off and then turn on Saute and adjust heat to normal setting.
  9. To a small mixing bowl, combine cold water and glucomannan, mixing quickly. Stir this into the simmering sauce quickly.
  10. Allow your sauce to simmer until thickened and you're ready to serve.
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