Pork Rillettes recipe

Rillettes is a rustic pâté made from meat that has been poached in wine and its own fat, then shredded and stored in some of that fat.

Whilst I use a Casserole dish for this recipe, it works equally as well prepared in a pan on top of the cooker or stove.

1) 1 to 1.5kg (3 to 3.5 Lbs) boned and skinned pork belly, cut into 2cm (about ¾ inch) pieces, you can reduce the amount of meat as long as you alter the recipe accordingly.

2) 4 rashers streaky smoked bacon, rind removed and cut into 2cm (¾ inch) pieces.

3) The meat is cooked with a herb mix which infuses the meat with flavour, it is pretty much to taste but here are some suggestions: 4 juniper berries crushed, 6 black peppercorns crushed 2 or 3 cloves of garlic sliced, a large fresh sprig of thyme or teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, good pinch of Mace. Salt to taste.

4) 250ml dry white wine.

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300F. Put the pork and bacon in a large casserole. You can lay the skin on top to render the fat from the skin (Fig 1).

2. Lightly crush the berries and peppercorns, add to the casserole with the garlic, herbs and salt. Pour over the wine and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 3½ hours or until the pork is completely tender.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3

 

3. Take out the Pork and pour the liquid from the casserole through a sieve and into a bowl which has been placed below the sieve.

4. Discard the skin, then using 2 forks, shred the meat in the bowl by pulling it apart (Fig 2), season to taste with salt and pepper, do this whilst the meat is still warm. Just before packing into the jars, you might want to add into the meat mix some of the liquid fat that is cooling and separating to the top of your bowl (Fig 3) just a tablespoon full or so; this will give some moisture to the meat, then pack the meat tightly into sterilised jars (Fig 4)

5. Let the meat cool for a couple of hours. The fat should be starting to congeal on top of the cooking liquor, gently spoon over the cooled meat a layer of the strained fat, chill for at least 30 minutes (Fig 5).

Figure 4 Figure 5

 

6. You can serve at room temperature with toasts and pickles or just with French bread and butter which is how I love it. The Rillettes will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks once the seal is broken, but it probably won't last that long once you have tasted it.

Note: Once the fat has congealed on top of the liquid in the bowl, you can gently scrape the fat from on top of the set stock which is settled underneath the fat. The fat can be used for your roasted potatoes, the stock underneath is delicious and is great in soups etc.