Father’s Day Rillette

Father’s Day this year started very early in the morning 3.30am to be exact. This is when I got out of a very warm bed to pull two bowls of risen bread dough out of the fridge to come back to room temperature. I also preheated the oven, even though I knew it wouldn’t take an hour to preheat, I thought this would be the most efficent method (since I didn’t want to set a 10 minute interval alarm for 4.20am). I then quickly settled back in bed for another hour. 4.30am the alarm went off and I jumped out of bed to line two baking trays with baking paper and a good sprinkle of flour. I then tipped (yep that is right, at this time of the morning I was not too fussed about the shape of my loaves) my room temperature dough out onto my floured trays and stuck them both in the oven for one hour. I was up and down for the last hour. I had put too much baking paper and was a bit too heavy handed with the flour which resulted in a very hot smell from my oven, verging on a burnt smell.

The effort was in deed worth it as these loaves of bread were to accompany home made Pork Rillette, cheese and a bottle of red.

Pork Rillette and Bread

Now onto the Pork Rillette, which I had made the day before as I had slow cooked the pork and made sure the product was in fact successful before I added it to the hamper. What is Rillette you may ask… Rillette is a potted meat, French style. A tough meat that is cooked until tender in a mix of either fat or stock or both and then shredded, some of its juices added back to it and then finally sealed with a layer of fat. To be eaten with bread, gerkins, pickled onions and whatever else takes your fancy. A very savoury, rich comfort food perfect for picnics or a drizzly day.

So I decided to make it for a picnic hamper for Father’s Day. However Rillette does not seem to be commonly known in my parts of the woods. I have not made Rillette before and so as I usually do, I googled recipes and cross checked recipes and decided on which recipe I would go with, if in fact it was just one or a mix. So I called the first butcher in a search for ingredients,

Butcher Number 1

Me: ‘Have you got duck fat or lard or pork fat that I can buy?”

Butcher: ‘No, sorry’

Butcher Number 2

Me: ‘Hi, I am after duck fat, lard or pork fat’

Butcher: ‘Why, what are you going to make?’

Me: ‘Pork Rillette’

Butcher: ‘Roulade???’

Me: ‘No Pork Rillette, its like a paté of sorts…’

Butcher: (asks someone in the background) ‘Do we have any fat as this girl on the phone wants to make Roulade’

Me: haha… ahh

Butcher Number 3

ME: ‘Hi, I need some pork fat for a Rillette do you have any?’

Butcher: ‘For a Roulade?’

Me: ‘No.. a Rillette, like a paté…’

Butcher: ‘A Roulade… Rooo..Laaauuuudddeee??’

Me: ‘No, I know what a Roulade is, this is a Rilllleeeeetttttteeeeeee’

Butcher: ‘No sorry we don’t have any excess fat’

 So long story short. I found some excess fat and after alot of exercise up and down the shops I found  a shoulder of pork (it appeared everyone was using pork shoulder that weekend). I decided to go off two recipes I found. Recipe One had a simple method and clean flavours, Recipe Two had vegetables and used a slow cooker.

My Recipe ended up like this:

Pork Rillette

1.5kg Pork Shoulder (with the bone)

1 cup of diced pork fat (my shoulder of pork was very lean so I was afraid I would not have enough fat [can you ever have too much fat?])

1 leek

1 celery stalk

1 brown onion chopped

2 cups salt reduced chicken stock (a couple of recipes I skimmed over made mention that the saltiness of the ingredients is enhanced by the long period of cooking, so I thought best to add salt as I felt necessary)

salt to taste

4 whole cloves

10 black peppercorns

4 dried bay leaves (I could not find fresh ones at the shops and am in the middle of hunting a tree down to have in my garden)

4 sprigs of thyme

I placed everything in my new (specially bought for this occassion) slow cooker and set it to low for 8 hours. I went back and checked the saltiness, the flavours and that the pork was cooking. 8 hours later, Mr. H and I pulled the pork out of the juices and shredded it. We then strained the juices from the remaining vegies and fat that had not completely rendered. Placing the shredded pork in a stand mixer and left on medium as we added the strained juices (you don’t want the meat to be soaking), salt and pepper until we were happy with the flavours and texture.

We then packed the pork rillette into each jar and placed into the fridge for 30 minutes. Once the rillette had set we then poured a layer of fat (from the remaining juices) over the top to seal. Then sealed the jars and left in the fridge. I went back and placed a sprig of time on top of each fat seal.

 Note: I want to play around with the flavours of the Rillette as I feel this version did not have any wow factor, I was waiting for a pop of flavour. So I might consider using fennel seeds or similar next time around.

To go with the Rillette I wanted to make bread. After watching a television series I came across a recipe I had previously used to make  bread. A no knead bread. PERFECT!

No Knead Bread

1kg Strong Flour (bread flour)

1 tablespoon Yeast

1 tablespoon Salt

950ml luke warm water

Mix all ingredients together cover with glad wrap and place in fridge overnight. Before baking take out of fridge for 1 hour to come back to room temperature. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a good sprinkle of flour, then bake dough for 1 hour at 220 degrees celcius until cooked and hollow sounding.

 This bread is almost like a ciabatta and has a beautiful rustic charm.

Finally to cut a very long story short, Father’s day was a success and the hampers went down a treat. I am keen to try my hand at Rillette again, maybe just concentrating more on flavours now that I know the basic behaviour of the recipe. Have you ever made Rillette?

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