Prep. time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours 25 min.
This meatball and pork hock stew is a traditional winter dish in Quebec, served with potatoes for the Christmas réveillon
(1) Ingredients vary for the meatballs: use all pork, or a mixture of pork and beef, but we suggest that you don't use all beef, since the long simmering tends to make beef meatballs dry, grainy and unpleasantly textured. Don't make them too small for the same reason: if you do, reduce the the cooking time by half.
(2) Toasted flour is the good cook's secret weapon since it adds flavor and body to the sauce. It's easy to make, so there's no need to buy it.
This stew is usually served with potatoes. You can cook them separately, or in the stew. Peel the potatoes, halve or quarter them, and add them in the third-last step. Twenty minutes should be enough, otherwise they tend to fall apart and turn the sauce into porridge.
- In a large pot, place the pork hocks, onion, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Cover with cold water and bring to the boil.
- Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
- Grind the bread in a blender to form fine crumbs.
- In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, ground meat and egg; season with salt and pepper.
- Form into medium-sized (two-bite) meatballs; roll in flour.
- In a large pan, cook the chopped onion in butter until translucent; add the meatballs and brown on all sides.
- Gently drop the meatballs into the pot with the pork hocks and simmer over low heat, for about 1 hour.
(2) Toasted flour
- Toast the flour in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until the flour is a nice golden color. Do not toast the flour in the oven.
- Sift the flour to prevent lumps in the sauce.
- Remove the pork hocks and meatballs from the cooking liquid.
- Remove the cloves and bay leaves and discard.
- Mix the toasted flour into the cold water and stir into cooking liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
- Add the meatballs and pork hocks (remove the bones if desired). Cook over low heat until the meat is heated through, watching to make sure the meat doesn't clump together.
- Serve hot.
Photo: Think Première Moisson if you don't feel like cooking
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