This dinner is fun to prepare, particularly if there are children in your home. But even if there are only adults, I can assure you it will go over well. These beef meatballs are typically referred to as “porcupine” meatballs, but that reference is associated with the fact of the added ingredient of uncooked rice as a component. As they braise, the rice swells and pokes out around the meatballs, producing each with a “quilled” exterior appearance.  I first witnessed these at summer camp as a child and was very intrigued. Some recipes call for cooking them in tomato sauce, but I prefer beef broth. After the meatballs are cooked, I THEN add a bit of tomato paste and flour-and-water slurry to the braising liquid to thicken it before serving.

A note about the ice cream: if you live in Florida or have ever visited that state you have probably encountered orange blossom honey which is produced alongside the many citrus orchards there. It’s by far my favorite honey of all, and since my sister had a bottle sent to me for my birthday, I decided to develop an ice cream recipe featuring this ingredient. The delicate floral and citrus notes are subtle yet delicious, and make for a memorable ending to this meal.

Beef and rice meatballs seasoned with fresh herbs, onions, garlic, and minced hot pepper braised in beef broth and served with a sauce of the braising liquid enriched with tomato paste
Root vegetable puree of potatoes, turnips, and parsnips finished with butter
Barely wilted baby spinach seasoned with red pepper flakes
House-made buttermilk biscuits

Orange blossom honey ice cream with crisp cookies