Rillettes de Porc

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    12–15

    , as a starter

Appears in

Belly pork is the cut traditionally used for this dish, with as much fat as lean. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find, however, with modern breeds of slimline pigs. The whole point of rillettes is the texture and flavour supplied by the fat. No one says you have to eat the whole potful in one go! Rillettes keep well in the refrigerator for a week or so, and make a good sandwich filling. A scoop of rillettes with lettuce salad, a pickle or two, bread and a glass of wine makes for a good lunch, or they can be spread on fingers of hot toast as appetizers to serve with drinks. Goose, duck, rabbit or mixed meats, such as duck and pork or rabbit and pork, can also be used.

Ingredients

  • 2¼-2½ lb / 1–1.10 kg fat belly pork
  • ¼ pt / 140 ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 sage leaf (optional)
  • a pinch each of ground nutmeg or mace, cloves and cinnamon

Method

Cut the meat into 1 in / 2.5 cm. chunks, and put it in an earthenware casserole or other ovenproof dish. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook in the bottom of a preheated oven at 110°C / 225°F / Mark ¼ for at least four hours. This can be done overnight, if you are sure of your oven. The meat will be cooked, swimming in fat with the water evaporated.

Pour the contents of the casserole into a large sieve set over a bowl. Remove any bones and the herbs, and transfer the meat to a board. Shred the meat with two forks and pack it into straight-sided pots or jam jars. Pour on the fat so that it seeps into the meat and covers the surface. Cool, cover and refrigerate.

It is worth making double quantities of this recipe to give as presents, and for buffet lunches.

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