Well the holidays are almost behind us so I have time to begin posting about all the food I’ve been serving up! All my gifts are unpacked, I roasted a fabulous chicken tonight and now im cozying up on the couch with a glass of wine and watching The Grand Budapest Hotel. Maybe it’s typical/trendy but I love Wes Anderson movies. On another cinematic note- we also watched The Interview on Christmas morning before making our rounds to EVERYONE’s house. My pork rillettes were a big hit.
These Pork Rillettes are by far what I’ve been most excited to post about. It’s not the its a particularly hard dish to make but that it takes some time and patience because once you’re done they have to sit for at least 2 days! You must resist the urge to just eat them right up! More on that later.
If you’ve gotten this far just because you’re wondering what the hell pork rillettes are here is my brief summary-
The French dish- Rillettes are a preparation of meat like pâté. Traditionally made with pork, it is cooked in its own fat and lots of salt until easily shredded and then packed with enough fat to form a paste.
and that’s that.
Now onto my personal dealings with this task. First things first,
Make a drink! We got prepping to do!
Second things second (ok, I promise I won’t do that this entire post)
I wasn’t able to find pork fat or pork shoulder OR pork belly at my local grocery store but my step mother was going down to a market and picked some up for me. Yay!! Unfortunately, she didnt pick up enough for me after cleaning so later on you’ll see I didn’t have as much as I needed but the end result was tasty none the less.
To render pork fat you want to clean away any major bits of meat and blood but don’t get too ADD about it. Then add 1/4 cup of water (it will cook off) and cook on low, stir every..hour or so. You’ll know its done when all the fat is melted off and any left over is sad shriveled up bits of brown…Then strain with a cheese cloth (or if you are super cool like me, a paper towel)
Mmmm lard, Set that aside, we’ll use it the next day.
Quick tip: you can actually just buy rendered pork fat online or some specialty stores. Making it home seemed the easiest and quickest option for me, but if you really don’t want to deal with this extra step get searching!
In the time that my pork fat was rendering my sister stopped by with her puppy, Kershaw, for his and Portia’s first meeting.
Poor P. But she deserves it, she was an equally rambunctious pup (Still is, who am I kidding?)
After the whirlwind of dog had left the building, I was able to begin prepping my pork for the rillettes. Now, I read a ton of recipes that call for different seasonings, so this is what I went with- it’s sort of a mash up of a few recipes I read:
- 2lbs pork bellies (cubed into 2″ pieces)
- 1lb Pork shoulder (also cut into 2″ pieces, leave the bone in for cooking)
- 2 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp corriander
- 1/4 cup of salt (yes, you read that correctly, cup.)
- 6 springs of fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 cups of rendered pork fat (which I fell short on)
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed.
Portia was super excited while I was cutting up all the meat. Then it was time to prep my spices! I don’t keep all fresh unground spices, but a few I have and coriander is one. I use it a lot in certain soups and chili’s so I enjoy having it fresh ground as I don’t use it TOO often.
ready for the cinnamon challenge? Is that what these kids are doing these days?
And then my heart attack-
Combine all the spices with the meat, fresh herbs, salt and mash the garlic into the meat.
My reaction when the recipe told me to mash garlic into the meat-
I just mashed it on my cutting board and mixed it in, let the salt work its magic….because…well…sorry.
Toss this all up, cover with seran wrap and let it sit overnight in the fridge! FYI- I’m sorry I can’t post smells but this smelled AWESOME already.
*Flash Forward* to the next morning and I took this out to get to room temperature. Melt your 4 cups of pork fat and put the room temperature meat and pork fat in your slow cooker AGAIN (I know, I only had to make 2 things but I was tired of cleaning the damn slow cooker, its heavy).
Add the bay leaves and cook on low heat, partially covered until tender (about 4-6 hours).
In the meantime, if you are me, spend the rest of the day eating brie and making your dog jealous-
Now here is where I messed up, as mentioned I did not have enough fat, I ended up with a slim 1-2 cups instead of 4 so mine is a little less….juicy looking. And in turn my finished prodcut, while delicious, was a little more meaty than a true “creamy” like pate. So just keep that in mind, and learn from my mistakes. womp womp.
I got so tired of shredding I had to enlist my husband to do some with me. I was just so tired of pork and pork fat.
After I removed and shredded all the meat, discarding all grizzly pieces and, I strained the fat again and put aside. Make sure you discard the bay leaves and thyme. They won’t be good in your crocks!
Also, if you can find them- Grab those big smashed cloves of garlic. They will be super tender and just mash them up and mix them into your pork. Yum Yum, we can never get enough garlic in this house.
Stir in about 1 cup of fat to your bowl of shredded pork and then pack in ramekins. Mine made about 4 4″ wide ramekins full. Then here comes the fun (gross part) take your remaining fat and pour it on top of the pork to create about a 1/2″ layer of fat.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days. If you aren’t quiet ready to eat it, or are thinking you couldn’t possibly eat all this in a week NEVER FEAR! You can actually keep these in the refrigerator for up to a month. They make a great appetizer before a party or dinner. Or i mean, really it could be a meal.
Serve with some toasted sliced french bread, pickles, mustard or even just with some crispy crackers. As far as wine, I’d go for a strong red- malbec or cab to balance out the fat.
But enough of that! Go enjoy!! I know I did and- I still have 2 ramekins in my fridge so I know what I will be picking at for lunch tomorrow.