Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A day for Rillons

Winter has finally arrived in Toronto and with this view from my window I knew I was spending the day inside. I decided to make rillons the French term for chunks of pork belly browned in lard then slowly cooked in more lard with herbs and spices, a big brother of rillettes and less work.
These chunks of belly spent the night in the refrigerator sprinkled with a mixture of salt and quatre-epices. (Ground allspice makes a good substitute if you don't have any of this very French seasoning).

Next I patted them dry and fried them in a little lard until they are brown and crisp on all sides. A splatter screen will help make the clean up easier.

A kilo of belly, skin removed gave me about 14 good sized pieces. It goes without saying you want a piece of belly with a good amount of fat. Once the pieces are nicely browned on all four sides place them in a heavy casserole big enough to hold them in a single layer.  Pour over the fat from frying pan leaving behind any debris. Add some herbs, crushed garlic, black pepper, a little white wine and water and cook for 30 minutes in a hot oven 400F/200C turning every 10 minutes.

Lower the oven to 275F/150C and check the level of the cooking liquid, it should be about halfway up the pieces. If not add some more lard, cover and cover and cook for about another 2 hours or until very tender but not falling apart. This what you will end up with -

Now they are  delicious hot out of the pan I didn't even bother with the wine!  Or you can let them cool and pour that glass of white wine. And don't throw out that fat.  Strain it and keep it for cooking potatoes. Then take a thick piece of bread and wipe it across the bottom of the pan - you will get a wonderful mix of caramelized cooking juices, garlic and herbs. Absolutely the perfect snack to cheer me up on this winter day.


fiona said...

looks delicious, Jennifer! Paris has been sooo wet for weeks, but I hear that a huge drop in temperature and snow is due here next week!! (shame, I'm a summer babe!)

Jennifer said...

We've had our drop in temperature, today it is -10C and with the wind chill it is - 19C. Staying inside today - if only I could hibernate!

Anonymous said...

Texture-wise are they like Mexican carnitas? The process is quite similar (though obviously the flavorings are very different)


Jennifer said...

The texture is soft and melting when they are warm. With carnitas the meat shreds, with rillons the meat has a melt-in-your-mouth quality - if that make sense.
The are good cold too.

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