04 June 2012

Manteca Colorada - Pork Rillettes

I was asked by NZ Pork to help tell people about the wonders of 100% New Zealand pork.. What's not to love? A bacon butty, a Sunday roast with golden crispy crackling,  a light and spicy pork larb or good old bangers and mash,  pork lends itself to all sorts of tasty culinary creations.  For all things pork and head over to the Extraordinary Kitchen or check out their Facebook page.  I was more than happy to say yes to some wonderful Harmony free range pork and the chance to promote great local produce.
For my pork creation I wanted to try something new and turned to Moro The Cookbook, one of my favourites. Spanish influenced it was always going to have plenty of porcine inspiration. Pork became Spain's most popular meat when eating it was encouraged as away to protest against the Arab occupation.  And a very successful protest it was with pork the star attraction in a myriad of charcuterie, sausages and hams.

Manteca Colorada or pork rillettes caught my attention.  Manteca colorada literally means coloured lard and for these rillettes sweet smoked paprika colours the fat a vibrant orange red.  The garlic, fennel, bay and sherry add layers of aromatics that make these innately Spanish verses their French cousins north of the border.
Manteca Colorada - Pork Rillettes, from Moro The Cookbook
Serves 6-8
1kg (2lb) boneless belly
225g (1/2lb) pork back fat
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
3 bay leaves, fresh if  you have them, halved
2/3 cup (150 ml) fino sherry
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven the 140C/275F
First trim the rind from the pork belly and then cut the meat and fat into roughly 5 x 3cm pieces.  
Place the pork and fat in a large mixing bowl and add the garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves, sherry, peppercorns and paprika along with a good pinch of salt. Mix it all well together with your hands. Transfer to a 2 litre earthenware terrine or heavy cast-iron pot and seal tightly with foil so that no steam can escape.  Place in the oven for at least 4 hours, until the meat is very soft and can be easily shredded.
Remove from the oven and strain the meat in a sieve, pressing with a spatula or spoon.  Put the liquid aside to cool a little and then pop it in the fridge so that the fat rises to the top and solidifies. Meanwhile spread the meat on a tray until just cool enough to handle, really as hot as your hands will allow you to handle as it is much easier to shred when hot.  Shred between your fingers discarding any bits of fat that have not melted away.

When the red fat on top of the juice has somewhat solidified, spoon it off and set it aside for later. Add all the juice and 2 tablespoons of fat to the shredded meat. Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and then place the meat back into a terrine or other earthenware bowls*. If using a terrine line it with cling film and pack the meat gently and seal with a layer of fat about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick.
Place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving.  The rillettes will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks if well sealed with fat.
*I quite like to have several small bowls that can be placed around the table for everyone to help themselves.

Serve with toasts or crostini, pickles and olives.  These were only going to be good mixed together with all that pure back fat! Fat is good people!  The smoked paprika adds not only a wonderful colour but a delicious sweet smokiness that just works wonders with the pork.  Piled atop a little crostini with a few pickles and olives to add a little sharpness against the sweet, they were the perfect way to kick off a long weekend and dinner with friends.



  1. Oooh love this! I rarely eat pork and never cook it but how I love rillettes! The flavors in yours do sound wonderful!

    1. Thanks Jamie, yes the smoked paprika works wonders!

  2. OMG can I come for dinner, my favourite pork rillettes!

    1. Of course....since I missed brunch we should definitely organise another catch up!

  3. Love Pork - this looks truly inspired.

    1. Thanks Julie, but all credit to Moro the cookbook...an all time favourite :)


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