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Christmas pork rillettes

Pork rillettes

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • plus 2 hrs chilling
  • More effort
  • Serves 8

A French dish of potted meat with garlic, juniper and brandy. Slow-cook pork until tender then set into individual ramekins for a sensational starter

  • Gluten-free
Nutrition: per serving


  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1kg rindless, boneless pork belly (it pays to use the best-quality pork you can find for this dish), cut into roughly walnut-sized cubes
  • 5 garlic cloves , roughly chopped
  • 10 juniper berries , roughly crushed, plush extra to decorate (optional)
  • ¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • large splash of brandy or Calvados
  • 4 tbsp duck or goose fat (optional)

To serve

  • sourdough toast
  • cornichons or sliced gherkins
  • dressed bitter leaves


  • STEP 1

    Reserve 1 bay leaf, then tip everything except the duck fat and serving suggestions into a bowl and season generously. If you have time, cover and leave the meat to marinate overnight in the fridge – however, this isn’t essential.

  • STEP 2

    Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Tip the meat and all the juices into a flameproof casserole dish with a lid. Pour over 250ml water, or enough to just cover the meat, and place the pan on a low heat. As soon as it starts to bubble, pop on the lid and put in the oven for 2½-3 hrs, removing it once to give it a good stir.

  • STEP 3

    The meat should now be very tender. Leave it to cool slightly in the pan, then drain over a bowl to catch the fat and juices. Shred the pork by hand or put in a food processor and pulse a few times to shred, but don’t overwork it into a paste. Taste, add extra seasoning if needed, then press meat into 2 small or 1 large serving dish, or pack into individual ramekins. Pour the juices and fat back over the meat, and put in the fridge for at least 2 hrs for the fat to harden. (To keep the rillettes for a week or so, cover with a layer of duck fat, and lay a bay leaf and a couple of juniper berries on top for decoration.)

  • STEP 4

    Serve with sourdough toast, cornichons and a few bitter leaves (such as curly endive, rocket and radicchio), in a sharp mustardy dressing.

Goes well with

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2013

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A star rating of 3.4 out of 5.3 ratings

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