The King Of Pigs is back with one of his favorite ways of turning pork and fat into delicious comfort food.
Text And Photo By Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen
When it comes to comfort food, some dishes are highly influenced by season. Soup is a soothing booster for our winter-ravaged bodies while nothing epitomises summer as nibbling on strawberries and freshly-shelled peas.
And then there are some dishes which transcend weather and season, and provide a universal sense of unbridled joy and satisfaction no matter where and when you tuck in. One of these is rillettes. You can eat as part of a hearty winter lunch to line your abdominal area with an extra layer of insulating fat for the freeze, or it can take center stage in a picnic basket served on a scorching hot summer day. It is the ultimate testimony to the almost transcendental power of pork fat.
As with many simple recipes, there is a plethora of ways to approach the subject matter. Some choose to brine the pork first, some cook it in a pot, others chug it in a roasting tin, and the spicing can range from juniper berries to nutmeg. And of course pork is just one of many meats – and fish – that is suitable for rillettes. Especially the fatty flesh of duck and salmon lend themselves very nicely to this treatment.
It was never my intention to slag off pork belly in my previous column for this blog. Pork belly is the Pig God’s gift to man and the perfect cut for rillettes. Depending on how fatty the belly is (and you want as fat as possible – 50/50 meat and fat if you like), you can also mix it up with a bit of pork shoulder.
I have immense faith in the belly I get from my local butcher, a fabulous old school place in Copenhagen called PE Larsen, so I choose to keep it simple and let the fat do the talking. A bit of thyme and bay leaf is the perfect match for the unctuous shredded pork.Print
Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen lives in Copenhagen where he writes about food and football for the Guardian newspaper. Prior to that he spent 10 years in London where he studied journalism, worked on the Guardian’s newsdesk and enjoyed a passionate love affair with British food culture (stop sniggering at the back) and the pub.