Delia

Rillettes de Tours

This is famous around the Loire district of France and sold everywhere in charcuteries – sometimes in thick chunks from a large terrine or packed into little pots. I would recommend this for anyone who doesn’t like liver pâtés.


Serves 6 as a first course or light lunch

This recipe is taken from The Delia Collection: Pork.

Rillettes de Tours
Ingredients
 a 2 lb 8 oz (1.15 kg) piece of lean belly pork, trimmed (trimmed weight 2 lb/900 g)
 8 oz (225 g) back pork fat
 1 dessertspoon chopped fresh thyme
 ½ teaspoon ground mace
 1 heaped teaspoon salt
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 10 black peppercorns
 10 juniper berries
 4 fl oz (120 ml) dry white wine
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).
Equipment
You will also need a 2 pint (1.2 litre) terrine or 2 lb (900 g) loaf tin, and some kitchen foil.

Method

With your sharpest knife, cut the pork lengthwise into long strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, then cut each strip again into smaller strips so you end up with pieces that are approximately ½ x ¾ inch (1 x 2 cm), and place these in a bowl. Cut the fat into small pieces too, and mix these in (the excess fat will help to keep the pork properly moist during the cooking process).

Now add the thyme, mace, salt and garlic, along with the peppercorns and juniper berries (the last 2 both crushed in a pestle and mortar or with the back of a tablespoon), and mix everything together. Transfer the whole lot to the terrine or loaf tin and pour in the wine. Mix everything around to distribute the flavours, cover the terrine or loaf tin with foil and place it in the centre of the oven and leave it there for 4 hours.

After that, taste a piece of pork and add more salt (and pepper), if necessary. Now empty everything into a large sieve standing over a bowl and let all the fat drip through (press the meat gently to extract the fat). Leave the drained fat to cool and then transfer to the fridge for 20-30 minutes so that the jelly and fat separate.Next, take a couple of forks and pull the strips of meat into shreds (sometimes it is pounded instead, but personally, I think it’s worth persevering with the fork method). Then pack the rillettes lightly into the terrine or loaf tin (wash and dry it thoroughly first), and leave to get cold.

After that, remove the jelly from the bowl of fat, melt it gently and pour it over the rillettes. Then spread a layer of fat over the top to keep the meat moist. Keep the rillettes in the fridge (covered with foil or clingfilm) till needed; it will take about 2 hours to set. Serve with hot toast, crusty bread or crisp baked croutons.

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