In the depths of winter simple delicacies, such us Pork Rillettes, satisfy and comfort. In our house we often have a bowl of soup on a Sunday evening - but to make a complete meal of our soup we slather thick slabs of toast with delicious rich rillettes - it makes a humble bowl of soup into a satisfying hearty meal.
Rillettes (pronounced ree-yet) is simply the French word for the fine shreds of meat that are formed through slow cooking. The technique of making rillettes is essentially like a confit - and it was used in Roman times as a preservation technique. The pork (shoulder, scotch or belly ) would be slow cooked in its own fat with stock, wine, herbs and aromats until it fell apart into 'rillettes'. It would have salt added to hinder bacteria and would then be packed into large earthenware crocks and sealed with a thick layer of lard to prohibit oxygen.
The process is still exactly the same - and although we now have refrigeration it is still well worth making pork rillettes for the simple pleasure of it.
Jane Grigson's 1967 classic book The Art of Making Sausages, Pates and other Charcuterie (one of Damian's favourite books) has marvellous descriptions of rillettes and pates and all the regional variations. This book - along with our travels around Europe inspired us to start the Piper St Food Co and create a range of quality, regional charcuterie - our products have won multiple accolades and awards over the years - but none so much as Melbourne's top French chef serving our rillettes on his menus for years. We no longer enter awards or sell our products to other stores - you can still find it in our little store in Kyneton or some of you may be able to order online for delivery - but what we'd really love you to do is find some time to make your own.
We have included a pdf of the recipe HERE and a very amateur but informative video below
Thanks for reading - and if you do get the chance to try this recipe please let us know how you go - always happy to see your photos or get an email
And although pork rillettes is a delicious addition to your winter tables - don't forget it's also perfect picnic food - so maybe store some in your freezer for when the sun peeps out again.