"Rillettes gets right to the heart of what's good: pork, pork fat, salt, and pepper," says chef Anthony Bourdain. "Easy and cheap to make, it's one of the great casual starters of all time." This recipe is exclusively from Bourdain.
- 2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 4 cups water
- 1 Bouquet Garni
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 pound pork fat, cut into thin slices
Place the pork belly and shoulder in the heavy-bottomed pot. Add water and bouquet garni and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. After 6 hours, stir in salt and pepper and remove from heat. Discard bouquet garni.
Once meat is cool enough to handle, transfer it to the mixing bowl; using a fork, shred the meat, taking care to preserve the natural filament -- meaning you want shreds, not mush. Feel free to shovel a little still-warm pork into your face. C'mon, you know you want to.
Next, divide the mixture among several small containers. Top each portion with a slice or two of pork fat to completely cover it, fold the mixture together a bit, then wrap each container in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and allow to sit for 3 days before serving. This is the hardest part -- just know that it only gets better as those flavors marry up in the fridge.
To serve: Scoop some out, form it into a vaguely artful shape (with a metal ring for instance), and garnish with toasted baguette rounds and cornichons. Left covered, rillettes will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.