Updated Monday, March 24th, 2003
Measure cooked rice and liquid, and if necessary add enough ice water to make 3 cups. Pour over ground beef in a large bowl. Add the egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and paprika, and work ingredients together until completely mixed. Cover with plastic or aluminum foil and refrigerate 2 hours or longer. (This much of the recipe you can do in the morning or even the night before.)
Transfer the chilled mixture to a flat surface and form it into an oblong piece about 1-inch thick. With a wet knife, divide it into 1-inch pieces. With wet hands, roll pieces into the shape of olives or little sausages. Chill again.
About 30 minutes before serving, fry pieces 2 to 3 minutes in a heavy skillet in a very small amount of hot oil or shortening, just enough so that the meat won't stick to the pan. Or bake at 450 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. Don't overcook.
Serve with fluffy mashed potatoes and a big salad. Any kind of sauce will help the "olives" if you use them as a main course, which serves 8, but if you want to be authentic, try the sweet-and-sour sauce also adapted from a Martha Washington recipe.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour in small sprinklings, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let mixture bubble, then remove from heat and gradually stir in broth. Add vinegar, sugar, and parsley, return to medium heat, and bring to a boil.
Immediately reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add capers or olives, if you like, before serving.
If you like a thinner sauce, add 2 to 3 tablespoons more broth or water. If you like a thicker sauce, cook a couple of minutes longer.
This simple, basic, very old-fashioned sauce is also good with a few tablespoons of white wine instead of vinegar. If the white wine is sweet, use less sugar or omit it altogether.
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