Hedgehog meatballs

Hedgehog meatballs



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 400g can whole tomatoes, diced
  • 500g beef mince
  • half a cup long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • half a teaspoon cumin, ground
  • half a cup basil leaves (optional)


Spray slow cooker with oil spray and turn on to MEDIUM.

In a frying pan, sauté one onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until onion is transparent.

Add tomato paste and stir to combine (it will start to stick to the bottom but that is OK).

After 2-3 minutes add water to deglaze frying pan. Tip into slow cooker and add diced tomatoes and juice with half a teaspoon of salt.

In a separate bowl add mince beef, rice, cumin and remaining salt. Use clean hands (or gloves) to combine ingredients.

Split beef mixture in half and then half again. With each of the four portions, split into quarters again, leaving you with 16 portions.

Roll each portion into a ball and place in slow cooker.

Pop the lid on and cook for 5 hours on MEDIUM.

After five hours, remove lid, give a bit of a stir and throw in freshly torn basil leaves.

Put the lid back on and cook for a further 30 minutes.


  • I could not resist stirring these at about 3 hours, just to make sure they were cooking evenly.
  • I made this dish because someone told me the rice popped out and spikes appeared- this didn’t happen for me? I might have needed to use a short grain instead of medium grain rice.
  • However my boys loved these meatballs and gobbled them down in minutes. My eldest also thought Christmas had come when I cut one in half the next day and gave him a sub sandwich for lunch with grated cheese on top.
  • Because rice is inside the meat, I served this with a big vegetable salad and a slab of warmed Turkish bread.
  • Recipe created by Camilla Baker for Kidspot, New Zealand best recipe finder.

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