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This is another must dish for French Canadian families at Christmas time. In the old days, when country people had to work outside in the cold Canadian winters and needed an extra inch (or two) of fat to keep warm, they didn't bother defatting the dish. They would eat the pork with skin and fat. I don't recommend doing this unless you need to put on a lot of weight. This dish should be made ahead of time. It freezes very well and is better reheated.
- 6 -8 pieces pork legs (Top meaty part)
- 1 large onion, studded with
- 8 -9 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
- water, to cover by about 2 inches
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 2 slices bread, without crust soaked in a little bit of milk and squeezed dry
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
TO THICKEN RAGOUT
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups of browned flour (home made or commercial if available, but home made is better)
- HOME MADE BROWNED FLOUR: Turn oven on to broil.
- In a large skillet put about 3 cups of all purpose flour.
- Place in the oven on the middle rack.
- Let the flour brown for about 5-6 minutes.
- Remove and stir well.
- Repeat, mixing every 5-6 minutes.
- Be careful not to burn.
- This may require 4-6 times.
- Brown and mix until flour is a nice light caramel colour.
- In a large pot put the pork pieces, the studded onion, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
- Cover with water about two inches above.
- Bring to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hour.
- The meat should be well done.
- Remove the meat and let cool so you can handle it.
- Remove the skin and most of the fat, leaving the meat in chunks.
- Meanwhile let the broth cool overnight so the fat comes to the top and congeals so it can be removed.
- FOR THE MEATBALLS: Mix all the other ingredients, (except browned flour) in a bowl.
- Mix well and form meatballs about one inch in diameter.
- Cover a baking pan with foil and cook the meatballs in a 350°F oven for approx 15 minutes.
- The next day put the reserved pork meat in the pot and pour enough of the degreased broth to cover by about 3 inches.
- Bring to a light boil.
- Meanwhile, Mix the flour with cold water a bit at a time until you get a medium thick paste.
- Pour one large spoonful at a time in the broth and let simmer a few minutes.
- Repeat until the sauce is thickened to your taste (not too thick).
- Add the meatballs and cook another 7-10 minutes.
- Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.
- If you want to be traditional, also serve with the tourtiere.