Portable Feasts

by Clare Ferguson

Published by Laurel Glen

128 pages, 2001

Buy it online






Pork Rillettes with Endive and Rolls

from Portable Feasts by Clare Ferguson

Rillettes resemble pâté but the meat is cooked slowly in seasoned fat before being shredded and packed into small jars. Make them at least one day ahead; they keep, refrigerated and well sealed, for weeks. If you wish, substitute up to a third of the pork with pickled belly pork in place of fresh, or with duck, goose, rabbit or hare.

Makes about 1 3/4 lb., Serves 8


3 1/4 lb. belly pork, including rind, or boneless pork chops with fat.

4 garlic cloves

1/2 nutmeg, grated (1 tsp. grated nutmeg)

1-2 tbsp. black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

1 1/2 - 2 tbsp. sea salt flakes or kosher salt

3 oz. bunch parsley stalks, tied with string

3-4 bay leaves

2 oz. fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish

To serve:

8 crusty bread rolls

1 head Belgian endive or a handful of arugula leaves


To prepare/cook Remove the pork rind in one piece and any bones and cartilage, and set aside. Now chop the meat into 1 in. chunks. Put the rind, fat side down, in the base of a flameproof casserole. Add the meat, bones, cartilage, and remaining ingredients. Pour in 7 tbsp. of cold water; cover tightly. Bring the pan contents to a simmer, check, cover tightly again and turn to the lowest possible heat, or put into a low oven preheated to 250F. Cook, undisturbed, for about 3 hours until the meat and fat disintegrate. Do not let the pan boil dry; add a few tbsp. of water, as needed, now and then to prevent any signs of drying. Remove casserole from the heat. Pour contents into a sieve over a bowl. Discard rind, bones, cartilage, any other debris such as bay leaves and stems. Using two forks, tease apart and shred the solids. Put in a clean bowl. Add enough of the strained fat to create a creamy paste. Smooth the mixture into one large or several small ramekins. Drizzle over extra fat, thinly, to seal. Push reserved thyme sprigs into the fat to garnish. Once the rillettes are completely cold, refrigerate. Add lids or tops after several hours of chilling. Take the ramekins to your site.

To present Let people help themselves; scoop the rillettes into each split roll to make a thick layer and push in some Belgian endive or arugula leaves. (If the rolls are made ahead, wrap them in waxed paper.)