4 large pork hocks, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped with the skin left on
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp dried savory and dried thyme
1 tsp each ground cloves and ground cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 slices dry/stale bread, crust removed
Enough milk to moisten the bread, approximately 1/4 cup
2 lb ground pork
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp each ground cloves and cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste (approx 1 to 2 tsp of each)
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
In a large pot put the hocks, onion and spices and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and let cook until meat falls off the bones, usually about 60-90 minutes. Remove the hocks to a cutting board or platter and using a fork, remove the meat and set aside. Strain the liquid, throwing out the solids and reserve the broth. This step can be done in advance and the meat and broth kept in the fridge.
Pour the milk over the dry bread and allow it to soak up all of the liquid; use a fork to mash up the bread to a loose paste. Add it to a bowl along with the ground pork, onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper, flour and the beaten egg. Mix thoroughly and form into bite-size meatballs. Using the same pot that you cooked the hocks in, brown the meatballs (in batches if needed) and set aside.
In the same pot, add in the 2 tbsp butter and melt over medium heat, add the 2 tbsp flour and stir to form a paste. Keep stirring until the flour is golden brown then whisk in the reserved broth. Whisk briskly until all flour clumps are gone, then add in the pork hock meat and the meatballs, bring it up to a boil then reduce down to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes. At this point you can adjust the seasoning to taste, and you can adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding flour to thicken or liquid to thin. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.
Notes: Sometimes my broth comes out a bit lacking in flavor so I add a little beef or chicken bouillon to punch it up a little. If you find the flavor or the finished stew a little flat but don't want to add salt, I sometimes add a dash of sherry or apple cider vinegar at the end to brighten it up. The above recipe serves 4 to 6 and freezes and reheats very well.