Rillettes, rillettes, rillettes… Such a beautiful name and equally beautiful tasting (if you can describe taste as beautiful).
This was rather simple, but time intensive. I was so afraid of the result, but well, let me show you some photos and the recipe first. The recipe is from the Les Halles Cookbook from my dear dear Anthony Bourdain.
This will serve 8-10
2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2 inch (5cm) cubes
1 pound pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch (5cm) cubes
4 cups water
1 bouquet garni ( 1 sprig flat parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf – all tied with a string so it’s easy to remove later)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 pound pork fat, cut into thin slices
Place the pork belly and pork shoulder in a heavy bottomed pot. Add water and the bouquet garni and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. ( I cooked in crockpot and turned out wonderfully).
After 6 hours, stir in the salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Discard the bouquet garni. (With crockpot, I probably cooked it for about 8 hours).
Once the meat is cooled enough to handle, transfer it to a mixing bowl, using forks, shred the meat (not mush, “shred”).
Divide the mixture among several small containers. Top each portion with a slice or two of pork fat to completely cover it, fold the mixture together a bit then wrap each container in plastic wrap.
Place in the refrigerator and let them sit for 3 days before serving. DO NOT cheat on the 3 days, because it just gets better as the flavors marry up!!
My opinion: what a difficult 3 day wait it was… but I promised myself not to disturb rillettes, and it rewarded in a wonderful way!! As you can see from my photo, I didn’t cut the pork into cubes. I usually prefer to slow cook a big chunk of meat versus cutting them into pieces. Took this over to my cousin’s house for a mega birthday bash – we sliced baguettes into thin slices, transferred some of the rillettes in a bowl to bring it up to room temperature, spread rillettes onto baguette slices and topped off with alfalfa sprouts.
What a luxurious taste it was!! Nothing porky about the taste – bouquet garni did a wonderful job of infusing herbal flavors into the pork. I have to say that the alfalfa sprouts paired very well with rillettes (aka pork jam!!).