Well, I’m really into cooking, but these days I stumbled upon something completely new to me again: Rillettes. A french type of shredded strands of pork/chicken/duck or even fish as a soft and savoury spread for toasted bread and the like.
Meat or poultry or whatever is cooked over a long period of time until very tender and aromatic, then frayed and mixed with it’s own juices and rendered fat. Stored in a glass jar and topped with a layer of fat for preservation this is a hearty, savoury and addictive addition to a rustic and “good and solid” dinner. Obviously, this is not for the calorie-conscious…
It is indeed a little bit of an effort, but it is well worth the effort. I didn’t know this recipe before and I really like it. If you don’t exactly happen to be allergic to poultry, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.
I tried to find a “classic french” recipe for my first try with no fuzz and special seasonings or overdone “improvements”. But in fact, this seems to be a very versatile product that you can adjust to your personal liking in a hundred different ways. I used my trusty old Römertopf for this endeavour, but you can use any dutch oven as well.
Pat dry the chicken and liberally trim off any excess fat parts and skin. Over medium low heat in a dry pan, render the fat from them and let them become crispy.
Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme in a small bowl. Season the chicken thoroughly on the in- and outside, then place in your pot. Add in the chicken stock, bayleaves and a few knobs of butter and sprinkle with a little olive oil. Pour over the rendered chicken fat and crispy bits from the previous step.
Put into the cold oven and bake for 5 hours at 120 °C. Do not peek, do not lift the lid, just leave it alone and admire the delicious aroma.
Take the chicken from the pot (take care, for it will literally fall apart) and strip the meat from the bones. Strain the juices through a fine sieve and into a suitable vessel (ideally a grease separator) and let sit to allow it to divide. Shred the chicken meat thoroughly and mix with the chicken juice and part of the fat (about 3:1 ratio of juice:fat). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to your liking.
Fill the resulting mass into clean, sealable containers and make sure to leave as little air pockets as possible. Top off with a thin layer (about 2-3 mm) of fat, close and refrigerate.