Often made with pork, duck or goose, the savoury quality of rillettes comes from using traditionally fatty meats and a generous quantity of salt. It keeps for weeks if covered with a layer of fat.
Put 1kg of skinned and boned belly pork in a roasting tin, rub a 1 tbsp of salt over, drop in 3 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of thyme, 3 whole garlic cloves and 250ml of water. Cover, then leave in the oven at 160C/gas mark 1 for 3 hours or until the pork is tender. Lift the meat from its juices then tear into very fine shreds with a couple of forks. Pack tightly into a china or earthenware bowl. Pour the liquid in the roasting tin through a sieve over the rillettes and mix lightly. Leave to cool, then refrigerate until the fat has set. Serve with toast and cornichon, or perhaps a few pickled green chillies. Serves 8.
Choose pork with plenty of fat. Long, slow cooking is vital. Removing the meat from the bone with a fork will help keep the fibres separate. Don't use a food processor, as the texture will end up too smooth.
Duck, goose or pork are the best-known rillette meats. In extravagant moments I stuff baked potatoes with pork or duck rillettes. Scoop out the cooked potato, mash with the rillettes and pile back into the potato skin and bake until the top crisps.
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