One tomato, two tomato
The October Charcutepalooza challenge was to “stretch.” We could choose between confit, galantine or rillettes. I’ve done confit before, and the galantine was to much work for me to attempt without a waiting dinner party, so I decided to make pork rillettes, or pork jam as the French affectionately call it. From a technical aspect, rillettes are about as easy as making pot roast. Aromatic herbs and vegetables go into a pot of stock with an inexpensive, fatty piece of meat, which is then slowly cooked until it falls apart. Rillettes go one step further by transforming the cooked meat into a creamy rich spread by blending it with fat from the stock it was poached in. Packed in jars, it is further preserved buy a top layer of rendered pork fat, which prevents air from oxidizing the meat, thus allowing it to keep refrigerator for several weeks.
If you like pork, you will love pork jam. It’s meaty, rich and flavorful with an unctuous texture. Spread on bread or toast and topped with a little pickle, it is fantastic canape. This week I’ll attempt feeding it to my 5 year old to see if she’ll let me use it as a sandwich spread. I think I have a good shot.
A chronicle of my adventures growing, preserving, cooking and eating from my garden and everywhere.
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?
Known to many for my incredible ability to organize, I tackle gardening and life with equal verve. Obsessive, is that a bad thing?
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