[French food] Rillettes de Tours

One of our favorite lunches in France is a pot of rillettes de Tours, a jar of cornichons, baguette, pint of Alvalle gaspacho, piece of local cheese and bottle of local white.

Rillettes are essentially French “carnitas”, whipped into a paste, In otherwords, spreadable porkiness. Every supermarket sells its own brand, just about all reliable, and you can’t go wrong with Prunier product. (When you get home, do make up a pot yourself, Simply let a cut up fatty pork shoulder or pieces thereof, cook down in its own fat with a little garlic, onion, thyme and bay, splash of white wine. When it has completely disintegrated, whip with a fork until a paste, Spread on baguette slices. Pretend you’re still ih France) Keeps for weeks in the fridge.


I love, love, LOVE rillettes. Pork, duck, whatever - they are so delicious. Glad to know of a reliable brand!

A slow cooker is your friend for rillettes.

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A slow cooker, indeed. Or just the back of the stove on a lazy day. Once the meat is cut up, there is little or no attention needed. Like confits, rillettes are the original “fast food”. Instant lunch and an excellent stand-in for a carnitas taco or burrito. Or excuse for a mid-day snack.
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I love rillette! I think I’ve tried all the brands, including one artisanal in supermarket here. They are similar, some more salty, or more fat, than the others.

I’ve never made it, do you have a good recipe?

I just cut up large piece of pork shoulder and belly into 2" chunks. Put in a bowl with about a quarter cup of brandy or madeira or similar along with a chopped onion, several cloves of garlic, small handful of fresh thyme sprigs, a bay leave or two, a couple of juniper berries (optional) and peppercorns, salt. Next day, dump all this into a heavy Dutch oven, add maybe a cup of white wine, and put to simmer over low heat. The meat should cook in its own fat until fork shredable.

Only caviat: Meat should be 20- 25% fat . Don’t skimp on the fat. When jarring it, save back enough melted fat to cover the top of each container. Mix/whip the rest of the fat into the mixture. This is not lean cuisine. Jar, lid and refrigerate or freeze. This works. Also see Google.


Or, from Kennji


Thanks @pilgrim bookmarked the recipe for future use.

Oh wow, I love rillettes! How have I never thought to make them in the slow cooker?! I always do what Pilgrim does and use my dutch oven (with almost identical ingredients), but I’m definitely going to try the slow cooker route (thank you, RobinJoy).
Strangely, I got out of the rillettes habit during the pandemic. Very happy for the reminder to revisit them soon. And, btw, little pots of rillettes make great (and relatively easy) holiday gifts for omnivorous friends and family.


I was inspired by this post and tried making some rillettes with Kenji’s recipe linked above mixed with Bittman’s recipe. Currently chilling in the fridge.