This is a really good do-ahead recipe. Once made, the rillettes can be stored for several days.
1 kilogram piece pork belly, skinned (we used free-range)
1 cup white wine or water
3 cloves garlic, halved
1⁄2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
small toasted crostini or pieces of French bread
thinly sliced cornichons
Preheat the oven to 150 ̊C.
Cut the pork into 2 cm cubes and combine with all the remaining ingredients in a heavy-based casserole dish. Cover the meat with a piece of baking paper to help keep it moist during cooking. Cover the dish tightly and braise for 3 hours.
Tip the contents of the pot into a large sieve, set over a bowl and let all the liquids drip through. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the meat into another bowl.
Shred the meat using two forks and taste for seasoning. It’s important for the rillettes to be really well seasoned. Mix the cooking juices through the meat and pack into serving jars or ramekins. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The meat can be pulsed in a food processor if a smoother texture is desired.
To serve: Spread each crostini with the rillettes and top with a slice of cornichon. Makes about 2 cups