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Rillettes

Ingredients:
parts by weight
2 parts pork shoulder
1 part fat pork belly
1 part pork back fat
Coarse sea salt, pepper, bouquet garni, bay leaf, etc.

Le secret: Après avoir été rigoureusement sélectionnés, les meilleurs morceaux du porc sont cuits longtemps dans leur propre graisse avec uniquement du sel et du poivre.
Les caractéristiques: Une couleur naturelle, garantie de son authenticité. Une texture onctueuse et tartinable. Un vrai goût de rillettes authentiques (goût de confit). Sans conservateur ni additif.

Marinade Slice the meat across the grain 1cm thick; rub the entire surface with salt (about a teaspoon per pound of meat). Leave covered in a cool place for 12-24 hours, turning it a few times.

The dry marinade can be varied; but purists insist on just fresh-ground pepper and unadulterated sea salt.

Slow-cook the confit Wipe excess salt from the meat with kitchen paper towel; cut it into batons about 1x1x3cm. Pack a bay leaf and bouquet garni under the pork in a casserole; add enough boiling water to barely cover the meat; lay the back fat on top. Cover, and cook in a slow oven (120 °C 250 °F) for 4 or 5 hours. The pork should now have the authentic goût de confit. It can be kept, in its fat, in the refrigerator for several days before proceeding to the next step, or you can just wait until it is cool enough to handle.

Shred Warm the casserole, if necessary, to melt the fat. Remove the pork meat with a slotted spoon and pound it in a mortar, a few chunks at a time, or shred it using two forks. Add fat as necessary to create the desired unctuous, spreadable consistency. Traditional rillettes contain from 25% to 40% fat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper—they take more flavouring than you might expect. Pack the rillettes loosely in ramekins; cover with a thin layer of warm rendered pork fat. Heat the ramekins in a bain marie in a low oven, for an hour or so, to sterilise; cover and allow to cool.

The crunchy rillons left after rendering the fat are delicious, but probably too many of them would be bad for you—and even one may be too many.

Serve Rillettes will keep, in a cool place with their protective layer of fat unbroken, for weeks. In any case you should try to let them mature for a few days, as the taste will ripen if you do.

Serve with good fresh bread, sourdough is excellent, or Melba toast. Pickles, particularly the small pickled gerkins called cornichons, are the traditional accompanyment. No butter needed!

Rillettes can also be used to garnish stuffed tomatoes or artichokes, or to flavour an "hachis parmentier"—a French version of hash browns, made with potatoes and onion, coarsely chopped and gently fried with rillettes to provide both fat and flavour.

Confit de canard is similar in process. Duck (or goose) salted then slowly cooked in its own fat. You can use this to make rillettes de canard or rillettes d'oie.

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