Whisk Wednesday: Rillettes de Porc ~

17 10 2009

WW-rillettes-de-porc

Our Fearless Leader, Shari, has completed all the lessons in the Beginning Curriculum of the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school via our little cooking group.  She is now about half way through her real life experiences at the LCB academy in Ottowa, CAN.  How I envy her!  Though we are a small group, we’ve all decided to venture into the realm of the Intermediate course with her. How scary is THIS!!  So far, the recipes are a little more difficult to locate, but…we’re finding them!  We’re also allowing ourselves a bit more time between courses, I’m mean recipes!

This week we’re making Rillettes de Porc, (rillettes, pronounced “ree-yet”) a little French appetizer of sorts, usually served with bread and sour pickles, or cornichons.  One of these days I’ll remember to take the camera into the kitchen with me when I’m starting out, but that day apparently hasn’t arrived yet.  The mise en place for this was pretty easy…pork, a pinch of thyme, 2 bay leaves, salt and a clove studded onion. Oh, and 2 oz. of water. This is what it looked like after the long, slow cooking process:
rillettes-1stcookingSee all the lovely caramelized pieces of meat?  Those are problems in rillettes.  You want a smooth, creamy texture, and those nummy little brown pieces need to be beaned into submission.  I didn’t take that as seriously as I should have.  Take your frustrations out on those little brown pieces, but do wear an apron! Protect your lovely clothes!  After draining and pounding and shredding, you should start having nothing but meat fibers that look something like this:
rillettes-mashingThe next part was kind of difficult.  Not having any experience with Rillettes, nor even a picture to refer to for the desired texture, I was really at a loss for just how much of the pan juices and fat to add to the mixture.  I didn’t think to look for a picture on line until tonight. Duh.  Oh well.  I’m in the neighborhood I think!  I ended up adding all the pan juices in, and eventually all of the fat as well.
rillettes-crockWe ate it at this consistency…as you can see there are still little brown bits that didn’t get beaten down really well.  They make spreading more difficult.  Therefore, do not follow my example…follow the directions! *Ü*  You’ll end up with a more spreadable product.  We liked it at this consistency, but felt it was really still a little too dry.  The flavor was really good though, and kind of kept you coming back for just another bite.  Back in the kitchen, I took the rest of the meat and added more fat to it and stirred it in, and ended up adding in every bit of it.  It wasn’t overly soft, but was spreadable and tasted much better.  It looks a little better too.rillettes-final-productTasting Notes:
Don’t be in a hurry to season this.  Make sure you taste it before you start adding a lot of salt especially.  Yes, it needs to be heavily seasoned, but taste before you start adding.  There’s been a lot of reduction going on, and the flavors have intensified.  This isn’t something I’d necessarily think of right away, but it’s sure interesting!  It’s good, but a little odd for my West Coast palate!

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3 responses

20 10 2009
Kayte

Wow, love the photos…I knew there was no way the guys would eat this. They are just not that fond of meat that isn’t clearly and definitively what it is…i.e. a steak, a chicken breast, a pork chop…and I am very lucky that they eat the variety they do, so why mess with a good thing right now? May try this sometime in the future when it is just Mark and I as he might be willing to try it and give it a fair shot. Great post, I learned a lot.

18 10 2009
Simone (junglefrog)

O wow what an interesting dish this is….! I’ve never attempted to make rillettes before. I – to be honest – think the name could be a little better. It sounds a bit like something I never wanted as a kid…lol… I can see how this would be very tasty with baguette though!

18 10 2009
Can't Believe We Ate...

Oh gosh! Thanks for that! I forgot to include pronunciation!

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