Porcupine meatballs, or Tefteli Ezhiki in Russian, are called that because the rice used in the mixture pokes out of the meatballs like little quills. These meatballs, topped with a creamy savory sauce are a hit comfort food.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Partially cook the rice. I usually bring the water to a boil and cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.
Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Form meatballs approximately 2 tablespoons each. Place in a rimmed baking pan.
You can use a portion scoop to make it easier to form the meatballs. Or use your hands. Moisten your hands every once in a while so the meat mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.
Melt butter in a large skillet. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the carrots, season with salt and pepper and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes, until the carrots soften. Add the garlic and tomato paste to the center of the pan, cook for about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until it’s completely incorporated into the carrots and onions.
Pour in part of the chicken broth and whisk. Gradually add the rest of the broth. Cook for about 15 minutes.
Take off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the cream sauce over the meatballs.
Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes.