|¾ pounds||Fresh pork fatback|
|1 tablespoon||Coarse salt|
|9/16 pounds||Fresh, lean, boneless pork|
|2||Plump cloves garlic, unpeeled|
|1||Branch dried thyme|
|2||inches by 1/4 inch.|
Makes about 1 pound.
1. Remove the rind from the fatback. Discard it or save it for another purpose.
2. Work the salt into all surfaces of the meat. Place it in a noncorrosive bowl, cover it, and refrigerate it overnight.
3. Next day, dry the meat by patting it with paper towels. Don't be at pains to remove the salt. Cut both the fat and the lean meat into small thin pieces about
4. Preheat the oven to 300^F 5. Wrap the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it up securely. Put this sachet at the bottom of an ovenproof earthenware pot (you can use a beanpot with a lid) Put the chopped meat in the pot and add the water. Seal the pot with a piece of aluminum foil and press the lid down over the foil into the lid groove of the pot.
6. Put the pot on the center rack of the oven and bake it for 3.½ hours. Turn off the oven, but leave the pot in there for another ½ hour.
7. Place a large, stout sieve over a bowl. Break the seal on the pot and empty the contents into the sieve. Discard the sachet.
8. Break the bits of meat apart with your fingers. Then, working with 2 forks, pull the fibers apart. This operation is very essential for genuine rilletes, which are not a paste. They are very finely shredded pork and fat. (Don't make the mistake of putting the meat into the food processor and making a fine pate of it.) NOTE: You may eat the rilletes all at once if you like, but mix the shredded meat with a little of the dripping in a ratio of 2 parts shredded meat to 1 part dripping. You may also pack the rilletes into jars or pots and pour the dripping over them. Make certain that the dripping covers the rilletes at least ¼ inch deep. Cover the tops of the pots or jars with foil. They will keep for a month or so under refrigeration. Make sure your pots are sterilized. An easy way to do that is by washing them well and rinsing them out with a few drops of Cognac. Be sure that the spread is at room temperature when you serve it. If you try to eat it cold, you will be astonished how tasteless and greasy it seems. When it is served at room temperature you get the full benefit of the long cooking, and the faint, savory perfume and taste of the garlic and herbs. The spread is at its best on crusty, freshly baked French bread.
Source: French Cooking En Famille From The Cookie Lady's Files
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