Sunday, July 1, 2007


I've been wanting to make these for a long time. It's one of the dishes that I always linger over when I flip through the Les Halles cookbook. A couple weeks ago, I was at the Garden with Elana and saw that it was special, so I had to try it. It did not disappoint. For those who aren't familiar, rillettes are a sort of pork condiment that you spread over toast and eat with mustard and cornichons.

As an aside, I'm just noticing that a lot of these posts feature pork dishes. This reminds me of a conversation I've had a couple of times. It's one of those "desert island" sort of questions. Assuming you are a full fledged omnivore (this question is pointless for veg and/or pescatarians), and you could only eat one type of animal for the rest of your life, what would it be? I go with pigs. No other animal can so efficiently produce the same range of different foods.

Anyway, back to the rillettes. You start with a few really cheap cuts. Pork shoulder (I substituted pork butt, since that's what was available), pork belly, and pork fat.
Cut up the shoulder and belly and throw it in a pot with a few cups of water and a bouquet garni. Cook the hell out of it. In the mean time, cut the fat into little cubes and stick it in a warm oven (~200-250) to render the fat.
Six hours later, take the pork out and use a couple of forks to shred it up.
The next step is to pack the pork into small jars and seal it with the rendered fat. The final step is to wait for at least three days to let all the flavors mix.

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