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The joy of fat

Posted by Jeanne on February 22, 2010

This weekend has been all about the fat – pork fat and duck fat, to be specific.  We made pork rillettes and duck confit.

Rillettes are basically cooked meat blended with fat to make a pate-like spread.  The technique is French – leave it to the French to make pork even more decadent.

Rillettes – loosely based on the recipe in, what else, the Les Halles Cookbook.  (I swear I don’t work for Bloomsbury – I just really like this book.)

If you can possibly believe it, the original recipe contains even more fat.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe someday.  Also, I made it in the slow cooker – because I am lazy, also because my pork shoulder was frozen solid.

2.5 lbs pork shoulder

1 lb pork belly

5 cups water

1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, parsley, and thyme – I had to use dried thyme but at least I actually had parsley this week)

1 tsp salt

black pepper

Add pork shoulder, pork belly, water, and bouquet garni to a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours (probably more like 6 to 8 if your pork shoulder isn’t frozen), and stir in salt & pepper.

Once the meat is cool enough to handle, transfer it to a mixing bowl and shred with forks.

Place in several smaller containers and refrigerate for 3 days.  Covered, will keep for up to one month.

To serve, get some good bread and/or crackers, some dijon mustard, and some little spicy pickles called cornichons.  It looks a little weird, but I swear it’s AWESOME.

Pork Rillettes on FoodistaPork Rillettes

For the duck, I used the recipe at the bottom of this page – Naomi had it last weekend and said it was to die for.  She’s right.

1 1/2 TB kosher salt
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1 bay leaf, crumbled
One 4-pound duck, cut into 4 pieces, fat and skin left on
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Serves 4

Combine the salt, garlic, thyme, allspice, and bay leaf in a small bowl. Mix well and rub the mixture over all the meaty sides of the cut-up duck. Place in a plastic bag with resealable closure and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

Post-marinade duck.

Preheat the oven to 300F. Spray the inside of an oven cooking bag with nonstick vegetable spray. Add the flour to absorb the juices from the ducks as it cooks.

Rub the marinade off the duck with paper towels (not easy but very important – otherwise your duck will be way too salty) and place the pieces in a flat layer inside the bag. Follow the bag manufacturer’s instructions for providing proper ventilation during cooking. Place the bag in large baking dish and cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 2 hours.

Oven bags are sort of creepy.

Remove the duck from the bag and set aside.  Save the (strained) duck fat for roasting potatoes or other root veggies – duck fat is a gift from the gods.

Beautiful golden duck fat.

Before serving, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the duck skin side down in the skillet and cook until the skin is crispy and the meat is heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.  (If you live in our house, you will set off the smoke detectors doing this.)

So good – we had it with some fingerling potatoes, carrots, and broccoli that we roasted (in a bit of duck fat) for an hour at 375F.

Duck Confit on FoodistaDuck Confit


3 Responses to “The joy of fat”

  1. Lainey said

    ok, that doesn’t look as hard as i thought it would. not sure that i’m ready to tackle it yet. but thanks.

  2. Naomi said

    Send me some rillettes! (I believe one should have confit & rillettes in one’s refrigerator at all times.)

  3. […] The joy of fat […]

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