Cookies, cakes and sweets of all type are exchanged among friends this time of year. But the food gift you give doesn’t have to be sweet. Try this recipe for Pork Shoulder Rillettes from Lüke creator John Besh.
Put this savory appetizer out for a party, with crackers, sliced baguette, cornichons and olives.
“Rillettes are meats cooked in lard, shredded and packed into jars, and then chilled and spread like pâté on toast,” the chef says in “My New Orleans: The Cookbook.” “It is certainly an ambitious recipe, which is precisely why I love to put up jars of rillettes and give them to friends around the holiday season. Cooked duck legs and their fat, the skin and bones removed, can easily be substituted for the pork shoulder and pork fat.”
People also love the personal touch of a handmade food gift, Besh said when he was in San Antonio recently for the grand opening of the San Antonio Lüke at 125 E. Houston St. That’s what makes these so welcome at Christmas or any time of year.
Pork Shoulder Rillettes
1 pound lard
3 onions, chopped
1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless Boston butt pork roast
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rib celery, halved
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Melt the lard in a large enameled cast-iron pot with a lid over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, cut the pork into large pieces and season with salt and pepper.
Add the pork to the pot along with the garlic, celery, chicken stock, wine, thyme, bay leaves and pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and slowly simmer for 3 hours.
Remove the pork from the pot and place in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and mix on low speed.
Remove and discard the celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves from the pot. Slowly add the remaining broth from the pot to the meat in the mixer bowl, continuing to mix at low speed until all the broth has been incorporated back into the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Pack the cooled pork in a terrine or in small sterilized jars. Cover well and refrigerate. Jarred rillettes will keep for 6 months.
Makes 10-15 pint jars.
From “My New Orleans: The Cookbook” by John Besh