Pork Rillettes

Pork Rillettes

I tend not to buy meat from supermarkets very often but when you see boned pork shoulder at £2 per Kg it is difficult to walk past without dropping 5Kg or so into the basket.  I have to say it wasn’t the most beautifully butchered piece of pork I have ever seen.  Nevertheless, we were going to make some rillettes and use the rest for a slow cooked Pulled Pork (see here) so it was worth a shot!  The added bonus was that I wanted to try and render my own pork fat to top the rilletes.  There was a lot of skin on this piece which would be great to render and would certainly not go to waste.

A classic pork rillettes is not a pâté, rather it is a long, slow-cooked pork dish. It is cooked in its own fat with a little stock, few herbs, garlic and seasoning. In a way it has more in common with pulled pork, but a pulled pork set in its own stock and fat. It is quite simply delicious to the point that I need to ration it – once started it is difficult to stop. Be warned!  Spread rillettes on toasted baguette or sourdough bread, sprinkle lightly with freshly cracked black pepper and salt for a light lunch or a quick starter.  Try it too with a little sweet chutney – not authentically French but a delicious combination nontheless.

The recipe is quite straightforward. Cut the pork into pieces about the size of a walnut.  Then add the finely chopped garlic, bay leaves, thyme, crushed juniper berries, cloves and the coriander as well as the Chinese 5 spice and Allspice together with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. To this was added a couple of splashes of calvados and around 200ml of chicken stock to nearly cover the pork.  The pan was brought up to a very gentle boil and then transferred to an oven.  This can be done on the BGE where I would set the temperature to around 120C cooking indirectly, or just as readily at 120C (Fan) in a conventional oven.  I would do this in the BGE if I was cooking something else or if I wanted to add a little smoke to the spice mix.  In all honesty though it is perhaps a little easier in a conventional oven.  If doing on the BGE I would do this without the lid, but in a conventional oven with the lid in place.

After about 3 hours the meat should be sitting in a lovely liquid stock and have softened considerably.  At this stage it will easily breakup with the pressure of a fork.   To separate the liquid from the solids I would suggest putting the whole content of the pan into a sieve and gently squeeze the excess fluid from the meat and garlic residue.  Pop the liquid into the fridge to chill.

Put the meat and garlic back in the cooking pan and begin to shred the meat to the consistency you want.  I like it quite coarse with some body in the shredded meat. Some recipes suggest doing this in a food processor – personally I think this is a terrible idea and leaves you with a mousse not a rillette! Assuming the meat has been cooked for long enough it will break up with a fork very easily.  Once you have the meat broken down to the size you want, pack it loosely into ramekins.  It is packed loosely so that the reserved meat juices can be poured back into the meat.  It can then find a way of flowing round all the meat fibres.  When you take the reserved juices from the fridge a pure fat layer should have appeared on the top if you have left it for long enough.  Remove and reserve this fat layer.  Pour the meat juices into the ramekin stopping when the liquid just comes to the surface of the meat.  The ramekins were then allowed to chill further which allows some absorption of the meat juices.  The reserved fat can then be heated and gently poured over the rillette to seal it. The dishes are then left for at least 2hrs in the fridge to harden.  Left like this with the fat on the surface the rillette will keep happily in the fridge for around 10 days and the fat can be scraped to one side when serving.  If you are intending to use in the next day or so a simple cling film lid will do a similar job.  If you don’t like the idea of using pork fat to seal then an equally adequate seal can be made with melted butter.

……………………………. do give it a go!

 

 

 

 

Pork Rillette

April 24, 2019
: 12-14
: 1 hr
: 3 hr
: 4 hr
: Moderate

Slow cooked herbed and spiced pork transformed into a delicious meat delicacy

By:

Ingredients
  • Pork Shoulder or Belly 1Kg
  • Garlic 5 large cloves
  • Bay leaves 4
  • Thyme
  • 10 Juniper berries
  • 4 Cloves,
  • Coriander, quarter tsp
  • Chinese 5 spice, quarter tsp
  • Allspice, half tsp
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Calvados a large splash
  • Chicken Stock around 200ml
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut the pork into pieces about the size of a walnut.  Then add the finely chopped garlic, bay leaves, thyme, crushed juniper berries, cloves and the coriander, Chinese 5 spice and Allspice together with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Then add a couple of splashes of calvados and around 200ml of chicken stock to nearly cover the pork. (ideally leave to marinade overnight though this is not essential)
  • Step 2 Put the pan on the heat and bring up to a very gentle boil and then transfer to an oven.  This can be done on the BGE indirectly at a temperature of around 120C or just as readily at 120C (Fan) in a conventional oven.  If doing on the BGE I would do this without the lid, but in a conventional oven with the lid in place.
  • Step 3 After about 3 hours the meat will have softened considerably.  Separate the liquid from the solids using a sieve and gently squeeze the excess fluid from the meat and garlic residue.  Pop the liquid into the fridge to chill.  
  • Step 4 Put the meat and garlic back in the cooking pan and shred the meat to the consistency you want.  Pack the meat loosely into ramekins. Take the reserved juices from the fridge and remove the solidified fat layer. Pour the meat juices into the ramekins stopping when the liquid just comes to the surface of the meat.  Allow ramekins to chill. Gently heat the reserved fat and pour over the rillette to seal it. Leave the dishes for at least 2hrs in the fridge to harden.  The sealed rillette will keep happily in the fridge for around 10 days

 


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