Passing on the tradition…Ragoût de pattes de cochon

Ragoût de pattesFinally, with craziness of the holidays behind me, I can settle down once more and get my life back on track. It’s nutty – all this hoopla for one day…

Although I haven’t contributed much to this blog recently, the holidays were all about baking and cooking for me. I went back East to spend the holidays with my mom. It had been a couple of years since I had been to T.O for the holidays, so it was my turn to make the trek. Luckily the weather cooperated and stayed mild throughout my stay. Despite that, I wasn’t in the mood to confront mobs of people in stores this year. Luckily, my shopping excursions extended to grocery stores. I was determined this year to learn the technique for making Quebec’s traditional stew of “Ragoût de pattes”, or pigs’ feet stew. Since we were hosting the Christmas dinner, it all got rolled into a week of non-stop cooking and baking. It was great!

The recipe my mom uses as her base for the stew is from Jehane Benoît, a famous Quebec cook. With a few modifications, we came out with this recipe. (Hint: caramelize your onions and hocks until dark brown for a richer sauce).

Ragoût de pattes de cochon

1.5 kg pork hocks
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 pinch Nutmeg
4 tbsp Butter
4-6 cups Water
1/2 cube of chicken stock, dissolved in water above
1 Cup onions, caramelized
4 tbsp flour, roasted
1/2 Cup Water

Instructions :
1. Season pork hocks with salaison (salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)
overnight .
2. Caramelized onions in a deep saucepan in 2 Tbsp butter. Remove from saucepan.
3. In same saucepan, melt 2 tbsp butter and sear well pork hocks.
4. Add water and dissolved chicken stock cube, and onions to pork hocks. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for at least two
hours, until meat falls from bones.
5. Remove pork hocks from saucepan and cool overnight in fridge. Remove/skim congealed fat.
6. Roast flour in oven until caramel brown (350F).
7. Remove meat from bone and set aside.
8. Thicken pork hocks liquid with roasted flour until nice thick consistency. Season with
salt, pepper (and allspice) to taste.
9. Add cooked pork meatballs and pork meat and heat thoroughly.
10. Traditionally served with boiled potatoes.

Pork Meatballs
1 lb ground pork, lean
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup bread crumbs
3/4 Cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 Cup celery, finely chopped
to taste Salt
to taste Pepper
to taste Allspice

Instructions :
1. Mix milk and bread crumbs well
2. Add pork, celery and onions. Mix well.
3. Add seasoning to taste and refrigerate overnight.
4. Roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs and fry in a bit of butter until 3/4 cooked.
5. Add to Ragoût de pattes to complete cooking.

This was one of the best ragoût we ever made. The key being patience in caramelizing your onions and hocks. The flour should also be dark brown, but not burnt. It took us over an hour to get it the right colour in the oven. But it was well worth the wait… 🙂