- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves
- About half a nutmeg
- 1 level tbsp juniper berries
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1.2 kg belly pork, bones and rind removed, but both reserved
- 500g fresh pork back fat
- 4-5 sprigs of sage, roughly chopped
- 6 large cloves garlic, crushed and loosely chopped
- 200mls dry white wine
- Toasted baguette
- Using a small food processor, grind together the first 7 ingredients to a fine powder.
- Cut the belly pork and back fat into approximately 2cm cubes.
- Add this to a large bowl and sprinkle with the powder. Thoroughly mix together with your hands, turning the meat and fat over and over, then add the bones and rind of the belly [left as large pieces, so easier to remove, once cooked] into the mix. Cover the bowl, place in the fridge and leave overnight.
- The next day, pre-heat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1. The next day, put all the meat, pork fat and bones into a solid-based pot [a Le Creuset is ideal, here] then pour in the wine. Add the garlic and sage and then mix everything together and hands, once again, are best here.
- Place the pot over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often; this is simply to bring the assembly up to heat before it goes into the oven.
- Put on the lid and slide into the oven. Quietly cook for about 3 hours.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.
- Fetch out the pork bones and skin, and discard. Suspend a colander over a large bowl and, into it, tip the contents of the pot. Allow to drip for about 5 minutes, then decant the liquid fat (from the bowl below the colander) into a jug, leaving the pork juices and residue behind.
- Tip the long-cooked pork back into the first bowl and, using a hand mixer on a low setting, briefly blend the small pieces of meat and fat into shreds. Add the pork juices and residue leftover in the previous bowl, and again blend that in with the hand mixer.
- Add some of the liquid fat from the jug a little at a time whilst blending with the hand mixer until it forms a creamy texture. The mixture should be floppy and glistening with fat.
- Now, pack the rillette mixture into small pots or similarly sized Kilner jars. Smooth over the surface and then spoon over at least ½cm of the remaining pork fat to seal each one. Attach the lids and put into the fridge. Leave to mature for at least a week before eating. However, they can happily be kept for a further six months, provided they’re packed into clean pots with no air pockets.
- After a week, scrape off the fat to reveal the meat. Eat with short lengths of split baguette - toasted or grilled - and with a pot of crisp cornichons close at hand.