What could be more delicious (and easy) for lunch than pork rillettes on sourdough toast, perhaps with some cherry tomatoes, preferably warm from the greenhouse (if only) and a watercress salad?
Preserved under a topping of its own rendered pork fat which is easily lifted away, the rillettes is a bit like cold pulled pork, but wonderfully full of flavour and juicy; less punchy than paté, more delicate and with a very different texture. It can, of course, be eaten at once, but is best saved for a week or so to develop in flavour. The unopened pots sealed with pork fat will keep for several weeks in a fridge.
500g belly pork
500g pork shoulder
6 fat cloves of garlic
200ml dry vermouth, white wine or chicken stock
Half a nutmeg, grated
3 bay leaves
2 tbsps. chopped rosemary
Generous grinding of black pepper
2 tsps. flaky sea salt
Remove the rind and top layer of fat from the pork belly, pop it into a roasting pan and leave in the oven for about an hour. This will produce crackling (which you can eat), but more importantly, it will render the pork fat which can be used to seal the rillettes pots. Set it aside.
Cut the remaining belly pork and the pork shoulder into fairly small chunks chunks and put into a casserole with all the other ingredients apart from the rendered fat.
Cover tightly and let it sit in the oven set at 150c for about 5 hours, or until all the fat has melted away and the meat is so soft it collapses when lightly pressed with a spoon.
Shred the pork - I use two forks - in the cooking pan; you don't want the meat to be too uniform, some bits should be chunky, some very fine. There won't be much moisture left in the pan, but it will be delicious and should be incorporated as you mash the meat to keep everything juicy. This isn't difficult to achieve, the meat will suck up the juice.
Press the rillettes into sterilised jars, pour over the reserved rendered pork fat, decorate with bay leaves and peppercorns, then leave to set.
When garnishing with fresh bay leaves wipe them with a little oil to give a shine.