Pork Rillette

Pork Rillette

1 whole pork picnic (about 8 pounds), skin on
1 small head of garlic, cloves whole but peeled
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 stalk celery, cut into quarters
1 large carrot, cut into quarters
Bouquet garni: celery leaves, 2 bay leaves, 10 black peppercorns, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. marjoram
2 cups water (approximately)

2 large cloves garlic
1 TBL green peppercorns (in brine), roughly chopped
2 TBL cognac or brandy (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place whole pork picnic into a roasting pan or dutch oven just large enough to hold it, and add garlic, onion, celery, carrot and bouquet garni around the sides. Add the water, cover, and cook either on the stove or in the oven over low heat (300F at the most) for about 5 hours. Turn the meat a few times during the process. You?ll find that at about 4 ? hours, the meat wants to fall apart into shreds ? that is perfect!

Remove the meat from the pan and remove the skin and visible fat, returning it to the pan. Add the bones that you pull out of the meat, too. On top of the stove, continue to simmer the skin, fat, vegetables and bouquet garni over low heat until most of the fat melts into the broth (about another ? hour). Strain this liquid through a strainer, then an additional time through cheesecloth (or paper towels or coffee filters).

While the broth and fat are simmering, take two forks and pull the pork apart into small shreds. Use a knife to cut the strands where necessary. Add the green peppercorns, optional brandy, and plenty of salt and pepper to the meat, and pour over some of the strained liquid. Mix very well. Remember that this will be stored and served cool, so it will need more salt and pepper than you think. Taste the mixture for seasonings.

Pack the meat in a 9? x 5? loaf pan (or use another terrine, if you have a pretty one). An 8-lb. whole picnic makes almost exactly enough meat to completely pack one loaf pan. Once the meat is packed into the pan, drizzle as much as the remaining liquid into the pan as it takes to fill the crevices. This will take a few minutes while you allow the liquid to settle into the terrine and then add a little more liquid.

Cover your loaf pan with wax paper or plastic wrap and place another pan the same size on top. Put 3 cans into the top pan to weight down the meat. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, cut into ?? slices. Use for sandwiches, with Dijon mustard and lettuce ? I especially like this on pumpernickel. Or, use as a part of a nice salad, on greens dressed with mustard vinaigrette, with boiled new potatoes and cornichon or gherkins on the side.

Alternatively, you can grind the meat to a fine paste in the food processor before packing into a round dish, and serve it at room temperature with bread or crackers.

Makes 18 servings

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