This weekend I spent doing some cooking, I wanted to attempt something I’d not done before, and try something out of my new cookery book I purchased recently… Le Charcutier Anglais. I’ve been looking for some tasty and straightforward recipes for pate, terrine, rillette and sausages that I could try at home, without too much fuss, if you’re interested in this kind of cooking, then the books is ideal – it also talks in detail about curing, smoking and all manner of preserving and presenting meat, from back pudding and faggots to hams and sausages pretty much all you could wish for is covered.
I’d always assumed that making rillette was a long time consuming process, complicated and too much hassle to bother with at home. But thanks to Marc Frederic’s easy instructions, I decided to give it a go. You need very few ingredients, and the most difficult bit is the waiting, and trying not to snaffle the lot whilst the piggy porky aromas starting wafting around the house.
I chose a mixture of pork shoulder and belly, chopped into large chunks:
I removed and reserved the skin from the belly, and cooked it later for a crackly snack.
Once the pork was prepared, I melted some lard. The lard is important, if you can, get hold of some unrefined lard, the commercial stuff doesn’t have a particularly nice flavour to it, the unrefined will though. I had some from Brays Cottage, which I used. I think you can see in the picture that it’s slightly yellow, an unrefined lard wont be the perfect white colour that you might be used to.
I cooked the lot in my slow cooker, set it to warm up, add the pork, and cover in the melted lard. Now leave it for hours. The smell is amazing and will probably drive you crazy, as you’ll want to keep ‘sampling’ it, but I urge you, keep your hands off it as long as you can. Eventually – the pork will start to break down, and you can cut it with a spoon. Take the pork out of the pan and shred it.
In a large bowl, put all the shredded meat, and mix in some of the cooking juice and melted lard, and season. You could use all sorts of things here: white pepper, mace, nutmeg, smoked salt, bay, a handful of green peppercorns, juniper or paprika. Keep it simple, just one or two, but you’ll probably need more that you think. Mix well and press into a large terrine dish, and if you’re going to ‘pot’ it, cover in a good layer of the fat.
Cover and leave in the fridge – if you’ve potted it you wont necessarily need to refrigerate it, but it wont hurt to do so. Leave it for the flavours to mature a bit. We tried it the next day, and the flavours weren’t as good as they are today, and I expect they’ll be better again tomorrow. I kept the fat that I didn’t use in the mix, and will use it next time I’m going to make rillette, I might get a bit fancy and try with some game – hare or rabbit would work well I think.