Wild Board Rillettes
I have previously posted and discussed both Rillettes, HERE, and Wild Boar, HERE, so I won’t go into too much about them. Just click the links if you would like to learn more. What I will say is that these little one and a half inch disks of pork packed some serious flavor. The meat was cooked, on the bone, in pork fat for over five hours, low-and-slow. And as you can see, there is a good deal of fat in the rillettes as well. In case you weren’t made aware, fat equals flavor.
I made the rillettes, as I just mentioned, by slow-cooking the wild boar in pork fat. After it was chilled I shredded the boar by hand, mixed in some of the rendered fat and seasoned with salt and pepper. One thing I have learned about wild boar is that you do not need to fool around with it too much. It has plenty of flavor on it’s own. I rolled the meat into tubes with plastic wrap and foil and allowed them to chill over night.
I made the mustard with rainier cherries which are mostly yellow with splashes of red which resulted in the lite color. I pitted and then cooked the cherries in white vinegar with garlic, onions, sugar and mustard powder. I pureed the mixture and chilled it. I also pickled some of the cherries.
The crumble is basically a savory cookie made with butter, flower, salt and toasted caraway seeds. The dough is mixed, chilled, baked, cooled and then crumbled up. It added a mush needed textural element to the plate.
Accompanying the rillettes are pickled celery, purslane leaves (essentially a really delicious weed) and a wild foraged ramp scape.
I thought that with all of the current hysteria that is beginning to brew with talk of a global bacon shortage, being dubbed “porkocalypse”, that this would be an appropriate post. Bacon, after all, is made from the belly of the beast, with it’s perfect ratio of meat to fat. Call me crazy but I actually prefer a nice chunk of uncured belly like the one here over a slice of bacon.
I removed the skin from the belly, reserving it to make pork rinds, and heavily salted it. I placed it in a baking dish, covered it and chilled it for 6 hours. I removed the belly and rinsed the salt off of it. I placed it back in the dish and covered it with smoked pork fat. The fat is the stuff I have leftover from making smoked chicken wings. The wings are cooked in the fat after being smoked which imparts that same flavor to the fat itself. I placed the belly in an oven set to 250 degrees and cooked it for 3.5 hours. The belly can be stored covered in the fat for upwards of six months if kept chilled. I seared the belly in pork fat over medium heat to achieve a nice golden brown crust.
I made the bean ragout by soaking dried lentils, ying yang beans, great northern white beans and red kidney beans overnight. I strained them and cooked them in a seasoned pork stock for an hour until tender. I served the cranberry beans raw to retain their beautiful color and to add some texture. The cranberry beans were fresh out of their pods.
The pork jus was made by reducing the pork stock and apple cider til it thickened up to a syrupy consistency. I use apple cider a lot during the fall and winter, especially in stocks and sauces. I finished off the plate with some pea shoots and tendrils.
Organic Ying Yang Beans – Culton Organics
Organic Cranberry Beans – Culton Organics
Organic Pea Leaves – Queen’s Farm
Sorbet From Scratch
Semifreddo Orbs, Coconut Snow, Mandarin Powder, Candied Mandarin, Coconut Chips, Mandarin Puree, Crystallized Mandarin Leaves
This is my take on a dessert staple that everyone should know pretty well, the orange creamsicle. I basically used three ingredients here; vanilla, mandarin orange and coconut, the coconut being the biggest diversion from the classic. So I retained most of the same flavors and textures with a few added ones presenting the orange and coconut in a variety of different forms.
I’ll start with the mandarin orange which came from California and included some of the leaves and stems. I removed the rind from the oranges and juiced the fruit. The juice was made into a sorbet and frozen into half-sphere molds. Some of the rind was boiled in simple syrup for a couple of hours and then pureed, resulting in a substance with a jelly-like quality. Some of the boiled rind was thinly sliced and dehydrated into the little strips you see on the plate. I also dehydrated some uncooked orange rind and ground it in a spice mill with a little salt and sugar to make the powder. I sliced one of the oranges and dehydrated them breaking them into little triangles on the plate.
The variations of coconut began with a mousse made with coconut cream, vanilla, heavy cream, sugar and egg whites. The mousse was frozen in the spherical molds resulting in a semi-freddo. The mousse and sorbet halves were combined to make little creamsicle balls topped with crystallized mandarin leaves. I combined some of the coconut cream with tapioca maltodextrin, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulsed it to make a coconut powder which I then froze into “snow”. I also scattered some coconut chips on the plate as another textural and flavor element.
Burrata or Poach Egg Salad
This is a salad, invented in the town (Lyon) that lends it’s name, that when executed properly comes very close to perfection. It is a staple on any respectable French bistro’s menu and my all-time favorite. I am known to put an egg on top of almost anything, whether it actually needs it or not. I have a hard time holding back. But this salad is a prime example of a dish where the egg makes sense.
This is a really simple dish to make but also a really simple dish to mess up. Every ingredient has to be in harmony with the others. It would be very American to pile this thing with bacon but that’s all that you would taste. And as an egg fanatic I could get a little crazy and use two resulting in more of an egg yolk salad. So restraint is a good word to remember when building this salad.
I start by slow-poaching the eggs. I leave them in the shell and cook them in a water bath which is held at 145 degrees for 50 minutes. I cool them quickly in ice water and refrigerate them until ready to use. They will be good for a few days. Just before plating I sit the eggs in hot tap water for a couple of minutes before gently cracking them open to reveal a perfectly poached egg that retains it’s eggy shape.
The frisee is dressed with olive oil and champagne vinegar, seasoned with salt and pepper and placed alongside the egg. Restraint is again used here as too much vinegar will overwhelm the salad.
I cook off the bacon lardons (my own bacon, of course) til brown and crispy. They are placed on a paper towel to absorb some of the grease and then plated on and around the frisee.
I finished the dish with brioche crumbs which were made by lightly toasting the brioche before gently crumbling it between my fingers.
Pastured Hen Egg – Mountain View Poultry
Organic Frisee Lettuce – Weaver’s Way
Free-roaming heritage breed pork belly for bacon – Stryker Farms
Brioche Bread – Wild flour bakery