Friday, October 31, 2008

Rillettes and Mangalitsa

According to Wikipedia, rillettes
is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.

... Rillettes were traditionally made with fatty pork belly or pork shoulder. The meat was cubed, heavily salted, and cured for twelve hours. The meat was then cooked slowly over low flames until very tender. That being done, the flesh was raked into small shreds and blended with the warm cooking fat to form a rustic paste.
One thing I'm wondering about is what sort of traditional pigs they used for this. If you used a Mangalitsa belly to make rillettes, you'd essentially just have a version of lard, because the belly has such little lean.

Yet it wouldn't surprise me if people made a very lardy spread in the old days, in the same way that pancetta used to be less lean.

Central European cuisine still has lardy, flavored spreads (usually an unappealing brownish color that puts off tourists):

I've had that before in Poland and didn't really like it. But given the special quality of Mangalitsa fat, it would be a real treat made from Mangalitsa.


Sean said...

The fall after graduating from college, I went to Germany. Much to my chagrin, some restaurants there serve schmaltz, rendered chicken fat, in place of butter. In those days, "Diet for a Small Planet" style vegetarianism and low-fat mania shaped my food attitudes.

Now maybe I will try rillettes

Heath said...

Sean -- Were they really broke when you were there? Chicken fat sounds like the sort of substitute people make when they are desperate.

When I was there, there was plenty of tasty cultured butter. The overall quality of German dairy products is amazing.

You might want to check this out, if you are going to experiment with fat: Apfel-Griebenschmalz You could experiment and use other ingredients, of course.

Sean said...

The restaurant was all old-timey and quaint, which is why they had the schmaltz on the table.

This was 1995. I think it was nostalgia rather than economy which explained the schmaltz.

Vanda said...

When I was growing up in Hungary the older generation still cooked using lard and not oil. Instead of frying pork chops you would oven bake them with lots of lard, then pour the melted lard into a container and put it in the fridge. I would all those delicious meaty flawors.

Heath said...

Vanda - was this mangalica or just normal pork?

It is hard to believe that at one time, we only had animal fats to eat.

Vanda said...

Just good ole regular pork. Traditional Hungarian cuisine is peasant food - high in fat and calories. Working on the fields all they long you burn it off.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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