“Rillettes”…..”Pork Pate”……..”Pig Jam”….
Call it whatever you want, it tastes incredibly good by any name. In fact, in all of its simplicity. Purity, and elegance, Pork Rillettes is without a doubt one of the top 3 appetizers I have ever made in my life.
Pork, wine, salt, and time. Oh, and patience. That’s pretty much all you need to make this mouthwatering spread. Once you experience this decadence you will see how Pork Rillettes is sort of the French version of what we love to call “Pulled Pork”, turned into a spread, only better. This stuff is pig in its finest, purest form. “Confiture de Cochon” , or “Pig Jam” is what the French call Rillettes. I like that name: Pig Jam! For some strange reason I find myself saying it over and over again. But that’s another story. So now I’m going to give a quick and easy crash course on how to make something sooooooo good it it’ll be worth the wait.
The first thing you need is some pork. I use pork belly and pork butt, skin removed, and diced coarsely.
I like to use a ratio of 2 parts lean meat to one part fatty meat. This makes the spread something special, to be stored away and savored for a while. Make sure you get some fresh pork, not that altered product that someone decided to inject with seasonings and preservatives, aka chemicals. The number one thing to remember when you’re making this is how good, simple, and elegant the pure porkiness is. The sheer humbleness of this stuff is what makes it so amazing. Literally it is meat, fat, and a little seasonings and some salt. That’s all that’s needed to carry the flavors down the road, over your tongue to its final destination of taste town. I’m getting hungry already. You will also need some ground black pepper, mustard seeds, salt
Bring to a boil, reduce to a very slow simmer and cook, skimming any foam, for 30 minutes. Add some sliced bacon and some water, return to a very slow simmer, cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring once or twice during this time.
You can tell if you look at a spoonful of the liquid and there are no little water bubbles. Taste the fat and adjust the seasonings if needed; do not under-season because the rillettes will be served fairly cold. Set aside to cool 1 hour. Remove bay leaves. Mash and shred the mixture, using your fingers, a couple of forks, a pair of nice sharp French knives, or what works really well, even a pastry cutter.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Serve on crackers, crispy bread, toast, in an omelet, or if you’re really wanting a change in your lunch, spread it on your bread when you make your favorite sandwich. Soooooooo good!