Rillettes of Pork. If you are thinking about a last minute Christmas gift when visiting which won't break the bank this is a great recipe. If you are unfamiliar with rillettes they are basically a dish of slow cooked pork or poultry in it's own fat to make a tasty, unctuous spread. My French friends give these as gifts and often have them at a meal. Perhaps it's a bit like pulled pork in a jar but much more classy and easier to make than a pâté!
Pork seems to be the cheapest meat here in France and for this recipe I buy chunks of off cuts of belly pork. You need the fat in the meat for the cooking process but the finished product is not greasy so don't be put off. Start by placing slices of belly pork (or shoulder) in a large lidded saucepan with lard, garlic, fresh thyme and seasoning.
Heat slowly until the lard has dissolved and then cover and cook covered for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, as it can stick. Remove the lid and cook for a further hour or until the pork is very soft.
Drain the meat in a colander over a large bowl, reserving the liquid. Remove the thyme and any lumps of fat leftover. Use two forks to shred the meat.
Put the rillettes back into a clean saucepan with the reserved juices from straining and heat for a few minutes until everything is mixed. Pack the rillettes into sterilized jars and leave to cool and then pour over a layer of melted lard to seal before securing the lid. Serve with crusty bread and apple chutney or give as gifts. The rillettes will keep for 6 weeks in the fridge or freeze in a plastic container.
What's your favourite thing to spread on crusty bread? This is definitely mine.
- 1.5 kg pork belly or shoulder sliced
- 150 g lard
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 100 g lard for sealing
- About 6 medium preserving jars/jam jars
- Put all the ingredients, except the 100g of lard in a large saucepan and heat slowly until the lard has melted.
- Cover the pan and cook for 3 hours on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Cook uncovered for up to an hour until the meat is falling apart.
- Strain the pork in a colander over a bowl, reserving the juices.
- Remove the thyme and any fat then use two forks to finely shred the meat.
- Sterilise the jars for 10 minutes in a 140 C oven.
- Return the pork to a clean pan with the reserved juices and heat for a few minutes to combine before packing into jars.
- Allow the rillettes to cool then melt the lard in a saucepan and pour a layer over each jar before sealing.
- Alternatively pack in plastic containers and freeze.