Maple & Pork

It is that time of year in Ontario when the nights are cold, but the days start to warm up. From late February to April every child and adult alike is excited for fresh maple syrup! This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a sugar shack, the Sweetwater Cabin sugar shack in Prince Edward County, Ontario to be exact.  Scattered across Ontario there are large and small sugar shacks and maple syrup festivals that provide communities with a chance to get together and celebrate a truly Canadian product. What says Canada more than Maple Syrup?

In fact, and lucky for sugar makers, the flavouring compounds in maple syrup are so complex that they cannot be duplicated chemically. That’s right, that maple flavour you get is one of a kind!

When cooking with maple you should think of maple as a spice or flavouring, more like garlic or vanilla, than like sugar. Maple should always be added with restraint, so that it does not dominate. Keep in mind that the darker the colour, the stronger the maple flavour. The best grade for you is a matter of personal taste- for me, the stronger the better!

There has always been a strong link between the maple flavouring and pork. I am guessing that this link comes from breakfast food such as bacon and sausage, tasting great with maple syrup. With this delicious combination in mind, I have a few recipes below that will be sure to get your mouth watering. The complex mixture of sweet and savory with the distinct flavour of maple is sure to get the entire family excited for dinner. Once you give this Maple Meatball recipe a try, make sure to keep a look out for other delicious pork and maple recipes. Some of my favourites include Maple Pork Ribs and Maple Glazed Pork Chops.

Maple Meatballs

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 lb (500g) hamburger
¼ cup (125mL) chopped onion
1 egg
Parsley flakes
1 Tbsp (15mL) Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp (2mL) salt
1/8 tsp (1mL) black pepper

Sauce:

1 Tbsp (15mL) cornstarch
1 tsp (5mL) mustard
¼ tsp (1mL) salt
1 Tbsp (15mL) vinegar
½ cup (125mL) maple syrup
¼ cup (125mL) water

Cooking Directions:

  1. Combine the meatball ingredients well. Take 2 Tbsp (30mL) at a time and roll into balls using your hands. On the stovetop, heat a pan to medium high heat. Brown the meatballs lightly in a frying pan.
  2. Blend all of the sauce ingredients well.  Place meatballs in casserole dish.  Pour sauce over meatballs. Cover.  Cook for 1 hour at 350’F.

–        Compliments of Sweetwater Cabin

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