Rillettes of Pork. The name sound like something you would like to take on a picnic? You know – one of those picnics where you spread heavy blankets and soft cushions over fragrant grass. Throw a checked tablecloth down. Unload crystal wine glasses, linen napkins and heavy silver from an ancient picnic basket. You open a terrine of rillettes of pork. Smear it generously on crusty bread. Add some sharp, sweet gherkins. Open a bottle of good red wine. Utter Bliss.
Rillettes of pork is a type of French pate famous around the Loire. It’s sold everywhere in charcuteries and I even spotted it in a supermarket. The ingredients are very basic – Boston butt and pork fat. These are the two main ingredients of divine pate the English call “potted meat”. If you can find a good butcher shop selling organic pork and organic pork fat that is the best way to go. If that is not possible buy a very fatty Boston butt and use fat cut from the meat. You also can use fresh pork belly. Since we raise our own pork I used the”fat back” in this recipe.
Chunks of pork and fat are braised slowly until the moisture evaporates the meat is fork tender. The meat and fat is mashed and packed into a terrine or small ramekins. The layer of fat on the top of the terrine has been simmered with the meat and is utterly delicious. To me the best part of rillettes. There is a little back and forth into the refrigerator but the recipe is easy. Most of the time spent is the slow simmering of the meat so do plan to make this when you can pop back into the kitchen and keep an eye on things. The rillettes will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. You can also freeze rillettes.
|HERBED PORK RILLETTES|| |
- 1 pound boneless Boston butt
- 1 pound pork fat from the Boston butt or pork belly
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh sage
- l tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 3 fat garlic cloves
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper.
- Cut the fat and pork meat into ½ inch pieces.
- Put the meat and fat in a large saucepan and add water to cover.
- Add the thyme, sage, rosemary, onion, cloves, coriander seeds, kosher salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a good simmer and cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is extremely tender, the water is evaporated and only melted fat remains.
- Stir occasionally to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and discard the stalks of thyme.
- Let the mixture cool for about 20 minutes.
- Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if required.
- Scrape the mixture in a medium sized bowl and refrigerate until a littleof the fat rises to the top and congeals.
- Gently scrap this fat off and put it into a small saucepan and reheat until the fat melts. Don't worry if you scrape some of the meat mixture with the fat.
- When the fat is melted pour through a strainer to collect meat mixture. Add these bits of meat and fat back into your bowl of meat.
- Put the strained fat into a tallish glass or plastic container and refrigerate until the fat sets.
- When the fat sets carefully spoon it up and put it into back into the small saucepan and set aside.
- You will find a small amount of meat juice under the congealed fat. Add this to your meat mixture.
- Using a fork or potato masher, mash and break up the meat mixture.
- Pack the mixture into small ramekins or a 1 quart terrine and refrigerate just until the fat in the mixture sets and turns white. Remove from the refrigerator.
- Return the small saucepan of fat to the stove and reheat until you have liquid fat.
- Pour the liquid fat over the meat in the ramekins so each ramekin is completely covered.
- Refrigerate and when the fat on the top of the meat has set cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the rillettes for at least 12 hours or preferably 2 to 3 days before serving.
- The rillettes will keep, well wrapped in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.