One of my chefs and mentors, Marc Bauer, is originally from the Alsace region of France. A few years ago, he made rillettes; I’ve tried many since, however none hold my heart like this recipe. Served on slices of toasted baguette with cornichons and mustard, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. When trimming the skin off the pork, make sure to keep as much of the fat intact as possible. Don’t be put off by the amount of fat that’s added to the recipe – it’s needed during cooking to keep the meat moist and flavourful. The rillettes will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
1¼ kilograms boneless pork shoulder, skin off
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme, plus extra for garnish
3 cloves garlic, halved
½ cup white wine
500 grams pork fat
slices baguette, toasted
Preheat the oven to 125˚C.
Cut the pork into 2 cm cubes. Place in a large glass or ceramic bowl and combine with the salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme and garlic. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To cook: Transfer the pork with all the seasonings into an oven-proof casserole dish and add the wine. Slice the fat into 1 cm thick strips and place on top of the meat. Cover tightly and cook for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally until the meat is meltingly tender.
Remove the strips of fat from the dish and discard.
Strain the meat and reserve the cooking liquids. This is a combination of meat juices and pork fat.
Shred the meat with two forks then stir in ¾ cup of the reserved cooking liquid.
Pack tightly into sterilised jars and spoon some of the fat that would have separated out from the meat juices over the top of each jar. Cover tightly, cool and refrigerate.
To serve: Spread the rillettes onto slices of baguette with a touch of mustard and cornichons. Makes 3 x 300 ml jars