This rillette’s recipe came from Charcuterie by Ruhlman/Polcyn, but there are lots of good recipes out there. In fact, you barely need a recipe. What you do need it the right cut of meat. While the recipe called for pork shoulder, I went the economical route and bought a couple packages of locally raised pork “soup” meat, which were comprised of fresh ham hocks, pork ribs and some other unidentifiable joints. There was lots of fat and lots of meat, which are the two main requirements, and the bones would give it great flavor. For seasoning I used pearl onions, thyme & parsley from my garden along with peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves. I changed the recipe a bit, but overall, these are classic stock flavors.
After quickly blanching the pork to remove blood and other bits that would muddy the flavor, the aromatics were added along with salt and water to cover. I brought it to a simmer on the stovetop, then placed it in a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours until the meat falls off the bone, literally.
The meat was then removed and shredded. Fat from the broth was added and the whole mixture was combined until a spreadable consistency is reached. I packed the rillettes into jars and a ramekin, and cooled completely in the refrigerator. They were then topped with a thin layer of the pork fat, sealing out the air. Save the pork broth!
The next day I took out a jar for lunch and spread it on toasted bread with garden pickles. I may have eaten the whole jar. Luckily, it was only 4 oz. Potted meat–who knew?