Ragoût de Boulettes
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 1 onion, diced fine
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 2-3 Tbsp flour
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup toasted flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
DirectionsIn a bowl, mix the pork, onion and spices. Form the mixture into small balls, about 4cm/1.5″ in diameter, then lightly flour.
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot, then sauté the balls, turning gently, to brown on all sides. Once all sides have browned, add the boiling water, cover the pot and simmer on low for one hour. Remove the balls, then thicken the broth by slowly adding the toasted flour until desired consistency. Add the gravy to the meatballs and serve.
And now for the details…
Ragoût de Boulettes or Meatball…euh…. Ragout.
Okay, so I have no idea of the traduction for ragout… I’ve always just heard folks refer to it as, well, ragout. Whoops… right. “Traduction.” French for “translation”. Certainly Franglais would need to make its way into one of these posts!
I can’t take really any credit for how this recipe turned out… like at all. As I said in the previous blog, this Quebequoise cuisine night was a joint effort, and Krystal did all the heavy lifting for the Ragoût. And it turned out AMAZEBALLS. Seriously. So good. Our credit for this recipe goes to Chef Cuisto, as we had never made these before and needed some help. The recipe turned out really, really well.
I feel as though I need to take this time to mention the fact that Krystal is a dietician. Now, her and I have had a number of conversations regarding food, diets, nutrition, and the like (fun fact: Krystal supported me while I was training for my first half Ironman. She helped me with everything from hydration to timing of nutrition to ensure I maximized my recovery). And in all of this, we have talked a lot about “healthy” food choices. When Krystal and I get together, often the meal choices we have made are for fairly rich foods (our first ever cooking adventure included molten chocolate lava cake). And the lucky recipients of our efforts often tease Krystal about her being a dietician and the food choices we make. But one of the things that I have learned through all these experiences is that all food is healthy. Preparing food socially with friends is healthy. Rich foods are healthy. “Healthy” foods are healthy. What I have learned most is that a balanced diet is key and having a healthy relationship with food is extremely important. Which I do my best to focus on, because I love food. I like it a lot. Alot alot…
So with that, lets start talking about the food!
Before we get into the cooking, a quick blurb on “farine grillée”, or toasted flour: When Krystal’s boyfriend had been telling us about ragoût de boulettes, he had mentioned making it with “farine grillée” to which Krystal responded with “eh?” And then later when she was telling me about what I translated in my brain incorrectly as “grilled flour”, I also responded with “eh??” And then we found out… it’s actually very simple. Toast the flour in the bottom of a dry pot on medium heat until it turns light brown and toasty… therefore: farine grillée. The toasted flour adds a nice flavour and reduces that “raw” taste you may get when you add flour to a recipe to thicken it up. Note: the more you toast, the less the thickening power… of the flour. (hee hee, I rhymed)
Alrighty, let’s get to cooking. Start out by combining pork, onions and spices, and forming into balls, and lightly cover them in flour. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot to get ready to brown the meatballs.
Place the meatballs in a single layer of the pot and brown the meatballs at medium high heat, turning them gently to get all the sides.
Once the meatballs have been browned on all sides, pour the boiling water into the pot, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot and let the meatballs simmer for 1 hour.
You can use some of this time to toast your flour. In our search, Krystal and I found a few methods. You can bake the flour spread thinly across a cookie sheet until the desired level of doneness. You can actually purchase your farine grillée pre-toasted, at a several levels of toastiness. No seriously, it comes in a flour bag same as all-purpose. See an example here. The method we chose to use was to toast the flour on medium high heat in a dry pot until the flour released a slightly nutty smell and was a nice golden brown.
Once your meatballs have cooked for an hour, remove the balls to a serving dish, then slowly add the farine grillée, whisking as you add to avoid clumping, and cook at medium to medium high heat, allowing the gravy to thicken. Pour the gravy over the meatballs, and serve with patates pilées (mashed potatoes)
Up next… haricots verts with crispy shallots and caramelized nuts.