This recipe belonged to my Grandma, Louise Harvey. I was the typical picky eater as a child. Going to the Harvey's for a meal was always a bit mysterious. Unlike my other grandmother who we called "Mom", The Harvey's always had different food. "Mom" served Irish fare - roast beef and potatoes, and Grandma Harvey often cooked oddities like duck, or liver. I was always a bit apprehensive when we went there to eat. When she first served me this dish, everyone was happily eating while I spent a good deal of time studying it. You never knew when liver might be hiding in something Grandma made.
I found a similar recipe in my vintage cookbook collection - The Heinz Book of Meat Cookery, published in 1934. It makes sense as we lived in Pittsburgh, and Heinz is a famous Pittsburgh food institution. The published recipe calls for cans of tomato soup. Back in the 30s women were excited about time saving in the kitchen. If you use tomato soup, you do not need the flour and butter to thicken it and you will want to use two cans of soup. Add some water if you feel it's too thick. Grandma's recipe was a bit shy on instructions, so I have done my best recreating it.
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
2 large eggs
l large can crushed tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon butter or shortening
1 tablespoon flour
pinch red pepper or cayenne
Wash rice and combine with ground meats, onion, garlic, eggs, and cayenne pepper. Form into balls and place in a large baking dish. In a saucepan, melt butter or shortening and add flour to make a roux. Add tomatoes and cook until thick. Pour tomato sauce over meatballs. Bake at 350 for an hour, or until meatballs are cooked through. I added an extra pinch of cayenne into those tomatoes for some extra punch.
Grandma's notes say that this recipe can be used as a filling for stuffed peppers by replacing the rice with bread crumbs. She also suggested that you could use veal and pork instead of beef. Back in those days, veal was sometimes less expensive than beef. I imagine you could stuff some cabbage with this too. But that is a recipe for another day!
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