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(Experiment 8) Ragout de boulette

Likely the only meal I miss as a non-meat eater is my famous ragout. This was a traditional Quebecois meal served during winter to keep you warm and ready to work hard during the cold months. My mom used to make this and when I moved out I trial and error it until I get the perfect recipe.

Note that if you make some ragout, make a large batch and freeze the rest in a small container.

Voted the best ragout by my kids – 2013-2014-2015-2016-2017-2018-2019-2020-2021-2022

You need :

  • 4lbs ground veal
  • 1lbs ground pork
  • 1 1/2tbsp grounded cloves
  • 3/4tbsp grounded cinnamon
  • 3/4tbsp grounded nutmeg
  • ~50gr butter
  • salt/pepper
  • ~10 cups of vegetable or chicken broth*
  • ~10-15tbsp of grilled flour (see below how-to)
  • 1 chopped onion ( in small pieces )

*When you put back all the balls in the pot, the broth should cover all of them and at least 1/2″ more. Adjust quantity as needed. Also, it’s better to do more than less, everyone wants more sauce

Instructions

  1. First, let’s make the grilled flour. You can buy it but it’s easy to make and it’s rather pointless to have this around in your pantry anyway. Dump flour in a pan, I`d say about a cup ( maybe a tad more), and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn. When you start to notice the flour is browning stir to ensure all the flour is grilled. You want a nice light brown. If you under grill it the sauce will have a light grey color and that’s a no-no. When done run through a sifter, put it in a container, and let it cool. Keep the remaining grilled flour for your next batch.
  2. I like to prepare the balls and put them in the fridge for 1 hour, this way they are less prone to tearing. In a large container or mixing bowl, mix the pork, veal, and onion. Season with pepper and salt then make some balls. Make them about 1″ in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. 
  3. In a large pot ( 8qt or so ) put the butter and turn on high heat. When the butter is almost all melted start putting balls in the pot to cover only the bottom of the pot, don’t overcrowd. You want to brown them not cook them. Carefully move them so they get nice coloring on each side then remove them and put them in another container. Do another batch of balls and repeat until they are all browned.
  4. Put all the spice in the broth and whisk to make sure it’s all mixed together.
  5. Put back all the balls in the pot and pour all the broth in, bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer, partly covered for 2 to 3 hours. 
  6. It’s time to make the sauce. Remove all the balls and put them in a container, be careful not to break them. Turn the heat back to high. Put 5-7tbps of grilled flour in the “broth” and whisk vigorously.  The goal here is to thicken the sauce plus the grilled flour will give it a nice brown color. The tricky part is to know when you added enough flour, to do so, you need to do a taste test. Add 2 more tablespoons, whisk and taste. You want to be able to taste a hint of the grilled flour, not overpowered. When you reach that point ( about 10 tbsp) stop adding flour. If the sauce is thick enough, you are done, if not keep whisking over high heat. This will evaporate some of the water and naturally will thicken the sauce. Also, adjust the salt level as needed.
  7. Stop the heat, dump the meatball back in the sauce for a nice dip. This is traditionally served with chopped boiled potatoes NOT mashed, and some fresh bread to dip in the sauce.

Enjoy

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