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a perfect day to be in the kitchen

November 26, 2009

It is grey and chilly outside, so I’ve decided to take a break from the dirty work and spend the day cooking instead! This should be fun seeing as how we have yet to really give our new-to-us vintage oven any serious sort of workout. In preparation we purchased a little oven thermometer and figured out that it tends to be about 20 degrees warmer inside than the setting says… no biggie, right?I’m more than happy to accomodate such a beautiful appliance…

Well, temperature issues aside we will be making an apple pie, baguette, and pork rillettes. I made rillettes last year for the holidays, and it was so nice to have the little pots of pâté to pull out whenever guests stopped by. That was about the same time Mr Meadowbroke and I found out that we would be going to visit his family in France the following year, and thusly decided to emmerse ourselves in all things french, especially the cuisine.

Here is the recipe:

2 lbs of fatty pork, such as belly or neck

1 lb of pork fat, also called fat back (scary I know)

3 bay leaves

8 or so sprigs of fresh thyme

1 cup or so of water

zest of 2 oranges

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 290 (or 265 if you have my oven)

Chop the pork and fat into 1 inch cubes, and toss them into a big cast iron pan over med low heat. Make sure not to brown the fat and meat, this part is just for melting the fat, not for cooking. Place the spices in with the meat and cover with water, just enough so that it is all covered but not drowning. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid or foil, and then place into the oven.

Voila! that’s it for now, the meat needs to slow cook for about 4 hrs, until it is super soft and falling apart, if it shreds easily with a fork then it is ready to come out. Once the pork is ready, pour the mess through a sieve or fine colander, and set the liquid fat aside. Shred the pork with forks, or let it cool and mush it with your hands, thats really up to you, but once its all smooth and creamy looking put the pork into a large casserole dish or into multiple little jars that have been sanitized. Smooth the top of the pork and then pour the drained fat over the rillettes so that it is about 1/4 inch thick or so. The fat seals the pork once it is cooled and acts as a preservative…Put the rillettes into the fridge and your done! Delicious meat butter that looks super fancy and makes lovely little gifts. It should be served room temp so make sure to leave it out a bit before people arrive and serve with cornichons and bread, yay holiday!

up next the pie…

A Bientot!

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