Friday, December 18, 2009

Pork Rillettes

For a New Year's Eve appetizer (and to start the blog off totally contrary to what its title suggests), I'm faking the pork rillettes from Bourdain's cookbook. The recipe wants shoulder, belly, and an undefined "pork fat," plus bouquet garni and s&p. My man only had some Berkshire pork belly along with various fatty bits cut off the same pig. Since, with the requisite time for it to get to know itself, this had to happen either tonight or next year, that's what I'm working with. Like single-malt scotch, but swine, it will either be sublimely delicious or a uniquely concentrated failure.

Other recipes I'm reading suggest that this is something that approximations are not going to ruin. It was the meatier end of the belly, so I think the meat/fat balance will be okay. I'm just a little worried about all the meat being from the same area, and also the fact that I have no clue what it's really supposed to come out like. "Pig jam" is a pretty evocative description, so that's what I'm going for. The other question is whether the belly in the recipe was intended to be already cured or salted. I'm assuming it was, and since mine was fresh, I'm adding about 1T salt at the beginning and then adjusting at the end.

Finally, after it was somewhat underway, I took a look at Larousse, who thought cloves and peppercorns might be nice to make it Tours style, and I agreed. It said we should use cheesecloth, but I figure I'll just fish these out later one by one, since they're the only non-grey things in the pot and also I have no cheesecloth.
Here's what it is:
2.5 lbs meaty pork belly
1 lb fat cut from the back of a standing rack of ribs, with some of the meat attached
.5 lb random fat scrap
Bouquet garni
A few whole cloves and peppercorns
Salt and pepper

Here's what I'm doing:
1. Separating meatier bits from fattier bits (which ended up being roughly 3:1)
2. Cutting larger meatier bits down to about 1.5" cubes
3. Dicing fat 1/2"
4. Throwing everything in a pot w/ bouquet garni and 4c. water, bringing to a simmer, then keeping covered on a low flame until the meat is fork-shreddable
5. Tonight, pull the meaty bits out and put it all in to chill overnight (since it'll be ready around midnight), and tomorrow shred the meat with forks
6. I'll let you know how it goes. I think I'll pour it in rocks glasses.