Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thrash Metal Pork Rillettes

Here's another fun recipe for cooking with beer. If you've never had rillettes before I highly recommend giving them a shot. It's essentially pork shoulder cooked confit (in rendered pork fat), that is then cooled and shredded apart, at which point you can mix in minced vegetables or dried fruits. Back in May I did a beer dinner with Jester King out of Austin. This was the appetizer, and was quite good.

The rillettes were enhanced by cooking the pork in fat along with some of their Thrash Metal Farmhouse Ale, a Belgian-style strong pale ale. The depth of flavor that the beer helped develop was quite nice, it added some nice fruitiness to the dish along with a great balance from the alcohol. Once the rillettes were made I pressed them into mini terrines with foie gras.

We served with with some wonton crackers (just wonton skins baked on a cookie sheet with a touch of cooking spray), montechevre cheese and some zante currants soaked in their Black Metal Farmhouse Imperial Stout. The flavors of the currants with the stout is quite a good match, the dark rich dried fruit taste from the currants pair up nicely with the roasted and chocolate flavors in the beer. Get that in a bite with the rillettes and you have a match made in heaven.

Thrash Metal Pork Rillettes:

4 lbs. Boneless Pork Shoulder
2 lbs. rendered pure white pork fat (or lard will do the trick in a pinch)
2 tbls. Tellicherry Peppercorns
5 whole garlic cloves
1/2 red onion - roughly chopped
1 cup Belgian Strong Pale Ale

                                                                                        2 tbs. minced onion
                                                                                        1 tbs. minced garlic
                                                                                        salt and pepper

Take the first seven ingredients and put them in a dutch oven, make sure that the melted fat and beer is covering the pork. If it's not add a little more of each so that the pork shoulder is completely submerged. Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven at 225 for 4 - 6 hours, or until the pork is very soft and tender, and can easily be shredded with two forks. Allow pork to cool. Remove pork from fat, but do not discard the fat, and shred apart with two forks. Add the minced onion and garlic and gently stir to combine. Place in a small jar, or terrine, take some of the cooled rendered fat and use to seal the top.Once sealed these will keep for an extended period of time as the fat is a natural preservative for the meat. The addition of foie gras in the terrine adds a bit of gaminess and is quite good. Serve with crackers or crusty bread and cornichons.

Black Metal Currants:

1 cup dried Zante Currants
2 cups Imperial Stout

Combine and allow to soak over night.

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