30 January 2010

pork rillettes ... (the long overdue)

Picking up where we left off about 2 months ago (life gets busy, you understand) ...

Let's relive some Thanksgiving deliciousness all over again, shall we?

Let me jog your memory a little. It was mid-November, slightly cool here in New England, and a certain TTK cook had secured a 10lb block of pork belly leaving her as giddy as a school girl with a crush. She had chopped the meat, adding it with some garlic cloves and water to the stove, and rendered all the fat out. Then into the refrigerator it went. And then ... we wait.

And wait.

Well, if you're me, you slept.

After 8-12 hours in the fridge, the fat will have gelled a bit at the top. Poke a hole through the fat and strain the rest of the water out of the mixture. I found pressing down on it with wax paper really did the trick. Note - this is a sticky mess of pork fat ... wear gloves, and really ... use the wax paper :)

Once all the water is out, the fun begins. Start creaming the meat with your glove-covered fingers (this isn't just sticky, but cold - 12 hours in the fridge remember? Make sure you don't lose feeling in your fingers). There will be some grizzly pieces of pork back, considering how you're not crisping that up to make crackle (mmm CRACKLE. ::drool::) Anywho. Use your judgement. You want this to be toothsome, but not chewy. Once you've hand shredded the meat, mix with that beautiful fat. (For those health nuts, you may not want to be a part of this process. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.)

You'll want to season it with a heckuva lot of salt and a bit of pepper. The taste will settle over you chill it for another 8 hours, but don't be shy.

After it chills, I recommend serving it with either crusts of bread or water crackers, with some chunky whole grain mustard, reduced balsamic (both to cut the fat), and gherkins on the side (or cornichons. I have a soft spot for gherkins though.) I also served with some thin slices of sweet honeydew. Once it was taste tested by the ever so lovely, open science enthusiast and foodie friend CP who happened to be in town, I knew it was set to go.

Voila. You just got all french with yer bad self.

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