Pork rillettes recipe with grilled fennel and pear salad

Snack attack: The Blue Ducks' pork rillettes with crunchy pear salad.
Snack attack: The Blue Ducks' pork rillettes with crunchy pear salad. Photo: Edwina Pickles

It's great having pork rillettes in the fridge, ready for an unexpected visit from a hungry friend, or as a tasty midafternoon snack, spread thickly on a toasted slice of sourdough. We like to keep the spices classic and simple but you can also add preserved lemon, chilli, smoked salt or fresh herbs (once it's cooled). The salad, with its aniseed hit, is ideal for rillettes, meaty pates or chicken liver parfait. Charring fennel brings out its sweetness but it's great raw too.

Ingredients

For the rillettes

1kg boneless pork belly (or shoulder), skin off (a fatty cut is best) - alternatively you could use duck legs

8 garlic gloves, peeled

1 sprig thyme

3 bay leaves

3 juniper berries

1 cinnamon stick

salt and pepper

300ml chicken stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1 orange

4 slices sourdough


For the pear and fennel salad

1 eschalot, peeled and thinly sliced

½ 1/2 tsp honey

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 small fennel head

1 chilli

2 tbsp olive oil

1 firm pear, cut into match sticks

1 handful parsley, mint and dill, torn

salt and pepper

Method

For the rillettes

Put the pork belly in a roasting tin with the whole garlic cloves, herbs, juniper berries, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock, cover with foil and roast for three hours at 160C. When cooked, the meat will be soft to the touch.

Pour the fat and juices into a bowl, removing the thyme, juniper berries, cinnamon bay leaves.

Put the garlic cloves into a small bowl and mash with a fork.

Put the pork into a large bowl and gently prise it apart with a fork. Mix in the mashed garlic and olive oil, then stir through the fat and juices, reserving a little for the topping.

Put the rillettes into a serving bowl, top with the reserved fat, ground pepper and a little orange zest and chill.

Brush the sourdough with olive oil, toast under a grill and serve with rillettes. Pickles go well, too.

Tip: Cool the pork slightly before uncovering it, so the juices don't evaporate.


For the pear and fennel salad

In a small bowl, mix the eschalot and honey, then pour over two tablespoons of vinegar to pickle it.

Cut the fennel in half and brush with olive oil.

Cut the chilli in half, scrape out the seeds and brush with olive oil.

Char-grill the fennel and chilli on a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Chop the fennel and thinly slice the chilli and put into a salad bowl with the pickled eschalot, pear and herbs.

Dress with remaining vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.