RAGOUT DE BOULETTES ET DE PATTES DE COCHON (MEATBALL STEW WITH PORK HOCKS)
IngredientsServes 6 to 8
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
4 medium onions, peeled and halved
1 head garlic, peeled
4 fresh pork hocks halved with the skin on, 7½ lbs (3.5 kg)
1 tsp (5 ml) juniper berries
4 to 5 sprigs thyme
1 large sprig rosemary
4 whole cloves
4 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 shallots, finely minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large egg, beaten
2 lbs (1 kg) lean ground pork
¼ cup (60 ml) fine breadcrumbs
1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard
GRAVY AND STEW:
¾ cup (175 ml) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 ml) reserved pork fat or olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 cups (1 L) reserved pork hock broth
4 cups (1 L) beef broth
- To make PORK HOCKS: Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add olive oil and brown cut sides of the onions for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, pork hocks, spices and herbs.
- Add enough water just to cover and bring to a boil. Skim and allow to simmer 2½ to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. During cooking add more water to keep the hocks covered. Use a slotted spoon to remove the hocks. Place in a large dish and cool. Degrease the broth, reserving 3 tbsp (45 ml) of fat, discard remaining fat. Strain broth through a sieve, discarding aromatics. There should be at least 4 to 6 cups (1 to 1.5 L) broth set aside for the gravy.
- When hocks are cool enough to handle, debone and separate the meat (keeping as many large chunks as possible) from the skin, discarding the skin.
- To make MEATBALLS: Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, add all ingredients. Mix thoroughly with hands until well combined. Form meatballs with lightly oiled hands and spread on baking sheets, about 7 dozen meatballs. Bake until cooked about 15 minutes, turning over halfway through. Remove and cool.
- To make GRAVY AND STEW: Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir continuously until toasted and golden brown. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a bowl to cool.
- In a large saucepan, heat pork fat over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and sauté until soft. Add broths, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in toasted flour and stir constantly until smooth. Lower heat to simmer 5 minutes. Strain gravy through a sieve to make a refined sauce or keep as is with the vegetables. Add meatballs and reserved pork meat. Continue to cook 10 minutes to heat through. Serve with mashed or steamed potatoes.