Monday, 23 June 2014

Rillettes du Porc

I don't think I've ever bought a cookbook at it's original sale price; I find it much more satisfying to buy them cheap. Some great places are car boot sales (as low as 10p), charity shops and second hand book shops. Even WH Smiths can have some good offers on. I picked up Small Adventures in Food by James Ramsden for £1.99 from a cheap shop and immediately started reading it on the train home. 

One recipe in particular caught my eye: duck rillettes. There's a French deli literally a couple of doors down the road from our flat, and my favourite things there is pork rillettes. It's like a very course pate, with strands of pork coated in glorious pig fat. 

I've made a few changes to the original recipe. First, and most obvious, is the use of pork belly instead of duck. This is because, well, I just love pork. Secondly, instead of using all goose fat, I use half goose fat and half lard namely because the former is so expensive (£4 for a 300g odd jar). Lastly, I used sherry instead of brandy - simply, it's just what I had in the kitchen.

So, here's my take on rillettes...

500g pork belly
75g goose fat
75g lard
1 bay leaf
1 spring of thyme
75g dry sherry

Scatter a handful of table salt on a baking tray, lay the pork belly on top and scatter another handful of table salt over the top. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, take the pork belly out of the fridge, scrape off excess salt and place it into an ovenproof dish. Pick the leaves from the thyme, shred the bay leaf into small pieces and sprinkle both over the meat.

Melt the goose fat and lard in a small saucepan, add the sherry, then drizzle it over the pork belly. Cover with tin foil and place in an oven preheated to 170C for 2 hours.

Allow it to cool down so you can handle it, then pick off the meat in shreds. At this point, have a little taste and season with pepper, it should already have enough salt. Rub in some of the fat, making sure to smoother all the meat - I used about a quarter of the fat.

Gently pack into little ramekins or jars - don't pack them too closely, though. If you want to keep them for a little while, you can drizzle a little bit of the melted fat over the top.

Serve with some good bread.

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