As promised, I am now finally getting around to posting a few of the recipes from my Cheese, Wine and Swine dinner party. To start off, I thought I’d share the recipes for the Pork Rillettes and Apricot Mostarda. I’ll keep the post short and simple, but I am going to leave you with the Wikipedia definitions for each item, in order to give you a better understanding of these two dishes.
Mostarda: (also called mostarda di frutta) An Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard flavoured syrup. Commercially the essential oil of mustard is employed, which has the advantage of transparency; in home cooking mustard powder heated in white wine may be used. Traditionally mostarda was served with boiled meats, the bollito misto which is a speciality of northern Italian cooking. More recently it has become a popular accompaniment to cheeses.
Rillettes: 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 Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough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.
In short, rillettes is essentially a rustic paté (think: carnitas meets paté) and apricot mostarda is a mustardy apricot chutney.
And if I do say so myself, the combination of the two is absolutely dynamite. Fatty creamy pork spread + spicy sweet apricot goodness + crusty bread = party in your mouth. (Oh, and did I mention the pork is cooked in a slow cooker? It does the cooking for you! So this meal is fancy, tasty, and easy.)
(Adapted from Food & Wine)
3 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 2″ cubes
1 Qt. rendered pork fat (lard)*
4-6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 teaspoons whole allspice
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
10 thyme sprigs
*Note: I couldn’t find rendered pork fat so I bought a big piece of fatback and rendered down the fat. This process took awhile, but it a great option if you aren’t able to find pork lard/fat.
In a spice grinder or mortar & pestle, grind whole spices together into a fine powder. Once ground, mix in cinnamon and then combine with a 1/4 cup of salt. Spread mixture evenly over the pork pieces to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (best if left overnight).
In a slow cooker, melt 1 cup of the pork fat. Add thyme sprigs, garlic and pork pieces and cook on low heat for 6 hours, or until pork is extremely tender. Allow the pork to cool slightly and remove to a bowl. Discard thyme sprigs. With 2 forks, shred the pork until the pork looks unison and there are no large chunks. Discard any gristle. Stir in one cup of the fat; taste, and season with salt if needed.
Pack the meat into jars, crocks, or other sealed vessels. Melt the last of the pork fat and ladle a 1/2 inch layer of fat atop each container of pork. Store rillettes in the fridge. With the fat seal still in tact, rillettes will keep for up to a month in the fridge.
To serve the rillettes, remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Rillettes is best served room temperature. Serve with crusty bread and apricot mostarda.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup dry white wine (I used Erath Pinot Gris)
1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon whole grain or dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
Add the apricots, sugar, wine, mustard seeds, mustard and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the onion and apricots are tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. When the mostarda is finished, it should be thick and similar to a chutney. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before serving.