Friday, 21 February 2014

Pork Rillettes recipe - Foodie Friday

by Bex

This was a recipe from my Christmas edition of BBC Good Food magazine and I had planned to make it to go with our Christmas day lunch/starter but ran out of time/energy.  I ended up making it for my birthday instead which gave it an extra 3 days of marination before I cooked it.  It turned out really well and went down a treat with the other bits n bobs we nibbled on before our Indian banquet.  It's not the most attractive thing to serve but it tastes fab!

4 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
1kg rindless, boneless pork belly, cut into 1" sized pieces
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
10 juniper berries, roughly crushed, plus extra to decorate (optional)
1/4 tsp chinese five-spice powder
large splash of brandy or calvados
salt & pepper
4 tbsp duck or goose fat (optional)
To serve: 
sourdough toast
cornichons or sliced gherkins
dressed bitter leaves

Reserve 1 bay leaf, then tip everything except the duck fat (and serving suggestions) into a bowl and season generously.  If you have time, cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge, however this isn't essential.

Heat oven to 140oC (120 fan) and tip the meat and all the juices into a flameproof casserole dish with a lid.  Pour over 250ml water, or enough just to cover the meat and place the pan on a low heat.  As soon as it starts to bubble, pop the lid on and put it in the oven for 2.5 - 3 hours, removing it once to give it a good stir.  The meat should now be very tender.  Leave it to cool slightly in the pan, then drain over a bowl to catch the fat and juices.  Shred the pork by hand or put in a food processor and pulse a few times to shred, but don't overwork it into a paste.

Taste, add extra seasoning if needed (mine did), then press into 2 small or 1 large serving dish or pack into individual ramekins.  Pour the juices and fat back over the meat and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours to harden.  (I actually really liked it warm as well!)

To keep the rillettes for a week or so, cover with a layer of duck fat and lay a bay leaf and a couple of juniper berries for decoration.

Serve with sourdough toast, cornichons and a few bitter leaves (eg, rocket, endive or radicchio) in a sharp mustardy dressing.

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