Rillettes are one of my favorite comfort foods. They are remarkably easy to make and then keep in your fridge for a couple weeks, bailing you out whenever you need a simple meal. Rillettes are similar in texture and flavor to pâté and are traditionally made with pork. The meat is cubed or chopped and then salted and spiced heavily and cured overnight. The next day the meat is cooked slowly until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled and preserved with enough rendered fat and stock to form a paste. With some nice bread and perhaps some cheese and a fresh salad this makes a perfect light meal. I always love pairing rillettes with a nice Burgundy (Givry or Santenay) or a Cru Beaujolais (Morgon or Julienas). But you can pair it with whatever gets your jollies going.
3 pounds Pork shoulder or belly (skin removed), cut into large chunks
1/4 cup of salt
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
4 cups veal or pork stock
2 cups dry white wine
1 medium onion studded with 5 cloves
3 bay leaves
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves, peeled
10 cracked peppercorns (tied up in cheesecloth)
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup chopped basil or some other fragrant herb (parsley, cilantro, tarragon, etc.), this is optional
8 ounces of rendered pork fat
Cut up the pork and cover in salt and pepper, place in a container and cure overnight. Remove the pork and rinse.Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Add the pork to a large pot and add the stock until the meat is covered. Add the remaining ingredients and place in the oven for 4 to 6 hours or until the meat is falling apart. Take the meat out and allow to cool, shred with fingers or forks adding a bit of the cooking liquid to make the texture more spreadable. Taste the meat for seasoning and then add the herbs if you are using them. Finally, put the mixture in to small jars or ramekins. Allow the meat to fully cool and then pour some of the rendered fat on top to seal the rilletes. When you are ready to serve the rillettes remove them from the fridge 2 hours prior to eating as they are much more flavorful at room temperature.