Rillette, whether made from duck or pork, is a delicious fatty treat served with the bright acid of cornichon, whole-grain mustard and, of course, a glass of Pinot Noir! Yield: about 5 cups
3 pounds skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 1” chunks
1 pound skinless pork belly, meat cut into 1” pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh
8 whole cloves
1 teaspoon dried garlic flakes or 2 large fresh cloves, thinly sliced
3 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Additional fine sea salt to season
1 lemon, cut in half
Toasted bread or crackers (for serving)
2 wide-mouth pint jars
1 wide-mouth ½ pint jar
1. Place the pork shoulder and belly in a large bowl.
2. Add the thyme, cloves, bay leaves, coarse salt and mix well. Grind 3 or 4 turns of black pepper over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350°.
4. Heat a 6-quart sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and then the pork shoulder and belly. Slowly render the fat, about 10 -15 minutes until there is good amount of fat in the pan.
5. Add 1 cup water, cover and place in the oven. Braise, stirring occasionally, until meat is falling-apart tender and fat is soft, 2 ½–3 hours. Remove the pan from oven, take out the bay leaves and cloves (count 8) and let meat rest until cool enough to handle.
6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a large bowl. Pour fat and any cooking liquid from the pan into a heatproof measuring cup (you should have about 1 cup).
7. Shred the meat finely with two forks. Pour in ¾ cup fat and mash, pound and stir meat with a wooden spoon until mixture comes together and has a paste-like consistency.
8. Season to taste with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice; the acid will cut the richness of the fat.
9. Taste and adjust salt and acid as necessary. It should taste mildly salty as it will become less so when it is chilled.
10. Pack the rillette mixture tightly into jars, pushing out air bubbles. Top each with a few spoonfuls of reserved fat and chill overnight.
11. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving for best consistency.
12. Serve with toasted bread, crackers, cornichon and coarse mustard.
Do Ahead: Rillette can be made 4 months in advance and frozen. Defrost in refrigerator overnight before serving. May be stored for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator as long as the meat is covered completely with fat.