Rillettes de Porc (Pork Spread)

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This dish may take seven hours of simmering, but this pork spread makes the best baguette sandwich ever, and a great appetizer as well, with cornichons, bread, and butter.

Difficulty: Medium

Hands-on: 1 hour 20 minutesTotal: 1 day 7 hours 20 minutes

Serves: 10

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. pork shoulder, rind cut off and reserved
  • 3 lbs. pork belly, rind cut off
  • 4 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. thyme

Directions

  • Chop the pork shoulders in big chunks. Cut the pork belly in ½"-wide strips.
  • Put a large French oven (or any cast-iron pot) over medium-high heat. Brown the pork belly in it for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the meat to soften slowly. Add the chunks of pork shoulder and stir well. All sides should get slightly brown. Cook the meat for about 15 minutes.
  • Cover with cold water, put the lid back on the pot, and cook on medium heat for 1 hour, stirring often.
  • Add salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, and the pork belly rind. Reduce the heat to the lowest level, and simmer for 6 hours.
  • After the full 7 hours of cooking, remove and discard the rind and the bones. Turn off the heat and let the pot cool at room temperature. When the pot is cold enough, the fat should float over the meat. Using a spoon, skim the fat out and put it in a separate bowl. Then stir the meat with a wooden spatula. Pour the meat into ramekins. Cover them with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 24 hours.