Rillettes

Potted Pork

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean pork, cut into strips
  • ¾ pound pork fat, diced
  • ¾ pound country-style bacon, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Lots of Freshly ground pepper
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1 branch thyme or teaspoon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 clove
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • ¾ cup water

Method

  1. Put pork strips, fat, and bacon into a mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss together and put into an enameled casserole. Add thyme branch and bay leaf to top of mixture. Put shallots in where you can find them. Tie a string around the clove so that it can be removed. Add sprigs of parsley and water. Bring to a boil on top of the range, cover, and put into a 300-degree oven. Braise for about 4 hours. Remove clove after 1 hour.
  2. Water will evaporate and the meat should brown just a little. If it is browning too fast, reduce heat to 275 degrees. When it is done, discard thyme branch, bay leaf, shallots, and parsley. Spoon meat into a strainer and let fat drip from it. Reserve the fat. Using two forks, pull the meat into small shreds. Do not grind it. Put the torn meat into small earthen containers, custard cups, or small soufflé dishes. Press down, but do not pack, and set containers aside. When the meat has cooled, fill the containers with the fat drained from the rillettes.
  3. Refrigerate to harden the fat. If any meat sticks up through the fat, add more liquid fat, or melted lard. The containers must be made airtight with a deep layer of fat over the top and no air pockets in the meat. When the fat has hardened, cover tightly and keep refrigerated. Rillettes will keep for months, provided they are covered in fat and are airtight.
  4. Serve cool but not ice cold, as a first course or with cocktails. Homemade French bread is a must, as are pickles of some kind.