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Porcupine Balls in Slaw and Tomato Juice

Updated on September 13, 2016
Crock Pot Porcupine Balls
Crock Pot Porcupine Balls

History of this Recipe

I've spent a lifetime experimenting with favorite recipes. This one evolved from a family favorite from my Polish days in my first marriage. In those days we spent hours boiling cabbage leaves and burning our fingers taking the leaves off the core to make Goumpki or stuffed cabbage.

Next came the plain porcupine balls that my children preferred because they always peeled the cabbage leaves off and left them on the plate from the stuff cabbage.

After that I learned that you could prepare the cabbage by putting it in the freezer and taking the leaves off the core as it thawed rather than boiling the head of cabbage.

Then came my crock pot slow cooker. That's when I started just pulling the leaves off the head of cabbage and lining the bottom of the crock pot. In between the layers of cabbage leaves I would put my porcupine balls.

This is the final step in the evolution which I started using today. I purchased 2 packages of angel hair coleslaw cabbage in the produce section of our store

As Nunny used to say, "Try it -- you'll like it."

Raw Ground Meat
Raw Ground Meat
Mix rice into ground beef.
Mix rice into ground beef.
Angel Hair Cole Slaw Mix
Angel Hair Cole Slaw Mix
Porcupine balls and slaw cooking in the crock pot.
Porcupine balls and slaw cooking in the crock pot.


  • 3 lbs ground meat
  • white rice
  • Angel Hair Cole Slaw Mix
  • tomato juice
  • onion powder
  • salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions

  1. Season the ground meat with onion powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Mix the rice into your ground beef.
  3. Spread a layer of angel hair coleslaw mix in bottom of crock pot.
  4. Scoop the meat mixture with an ice cream scoop and form into balls.
  5. Place a layer of balls on top of the coleslaw mix.
  6. Continue to layer angel hair coleslaw mix and then another layer of porcupine balls ending with a layer of coleslaw mix. I got two layers of porcupine balls in my cooker.
  7. Slow cook on low setting for about 4-5 hours.

Alternate Ideas for leftovers

You normally have leftover juice and cabbage when making this dish. I like to use the remaining juice as a starter for vegetable soup.

Another idea is to continue to use the juice with meatballs or even wedding soup size meatballs.

Another favorite of mine is tortellini and this would be a good combination with the wedding soup size meatballs. The tortellini would tend to use up some of the juice.


Submit a Comment

  • bearnmom profile image

    Laura L Scotty 19 months ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    This is an off shoot of a stuffed cabbage recipe. We make the porcupine balls without wrapping them in cabbage leaves because I have some children who just unwrap the meat and leave the cabbage on their plates. I, however, like the cabbage. Long and short, it's not compulsory to use the slaw or cabbage leaves but you do need the tomato juice or some other form of sauce with the meat balls. Thank you for taking the time to read my work.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home

    the meatball sure looks similar to porcupine balls, is it compulsory to throw in the cabbages?