Recipes Past & Present – Porcupine Balls – June 25, 2021


In my wife’s large Irish-Canadian family Canada Day meant two things; Uncle Henry’s birthday and the annual big bash on the beach. A huge bonfire was lit; the old laundry cauldron was thrown into action as a giant pot for corn on the cob, and hotdogs and marshmallows roasted over the fire. Coghlan kith and kin of all ages arrived one after the other bearing home-made food. Auntie Violet’s potato salad was legendary and Uncle Thomas’ Colcannon was in high demand. Needless to say there was a lot of fiddle music, singing and Jameson’s on hand. However, the party fell silent when Auntie Olive arrived with her signature dish: Porcupine Balls. Perhaps it was the name, but the kids loved Auntie Olive’s Porcupine Balls! 

Imagine my wife’s delight when she found a recipe for it in the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet slow cooker cookbook! The diet was developed to help lower high blood pressure and improve blood lipids (cholesterol) which it does quite well. Overall it’s a diet that will help you take better care of your heart health. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two types of Dash diet, the standard and the lower-sodium. Both can help reduce blood pressure, but the second one is best for folks who are over 51 years of age, have HBP, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. This recipe won’t make nearly enough for a family reunion, but it makes a fine family meal served with a green salad and a dessert of low fat yoghurt and your choice of seasonal fruit.


  • 2 x 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes, 1 drained and 1 with juice
  • ½ onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Organic Italian Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Pinch Cayenne pepper


  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 3 cups cooked Brown Rice, divided
  • ½ onion grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Organic Italian Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper


In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients (including the juice from the 1 can of tomatoes) together and set aside.


In a medium bowl mix the ground beef, one cup of the cooked rice and the rest of the ingredients together. Next, use a small scoop to form the mixture into balls, put them in the slow cooker, pour in the sauce, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Spoon the meatballs and sauce over the remaining 2 cups of cooked rice and serve. Sláinte – to your good health!

Do you have a favourite recipe, perhaps something that brings back memories of days gone by? Send it to the Lumby Valley Times. Mail your recipe(s) to: Box 456, Lumby B.C. or e-mail to to:, please indicate if you want your name to be used in the article, or would prefer to remain anonymous.