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!