When we went to France we ate rillettes and loved it so much that when we arrived home my husband found this recipe in the Stephanie Alexander cookbook, The Cook’s Companion, and made it himself. It’s origin is from Tours in the Loire Valley.
1.5 k pork belly
2 cloves garlic
Large sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper
Go to the butcher and buy 1.5 kg of pork belly.
Strip the skin off and make sure there are no bones in it.
Cut it into small cubes about 20 mm.
Place in a bowl and sprinkle a tablespoon of salt for about 1.2kilo of meat, (once you have taken the skin off) and rub it in.
Don’t trim off any of the fat as that is an important part of the finished article.
Cover and put in the fridge and leave overnight.
Next day put into a small cast iron casserole dish to which you put 2 cloves of garlic,pushed into the middle, and about a teaspoon of quatre epices plus half a cup of water,one bay leaf and a large sprig of thyme.
Put lid on casserole and place in oven at 150 degrees centigrade for 3 to 4 hours until the pork is swimming in its own fatty juices and completely tender.
Tip meat into a colander resting over a bowl so juices drain.
Discard thyme and bayleaf, place meat into another bowl and shred with two forks.
Meat should come apart easily.
Pour drained juice over meat. Mix lightly but well and taste for seasoning.(Rillettes should be very well seasoned)
Pack tightly into one or two jars making sure there are no air gaps.
Recipe for quatre epices
3 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Grind peppercorns and cloves to a fine powder in a coffee grinder reserved for spices.
Tip into a bowl and mix very well with nutmeg and ginger.
Store in a screw top jar.
Throw out when it no longer smells exciting!
Good for seasoning pork and pork sausages.