Potted Spiced Pork
This is a favorite of all our fireside companions, most especially when the weather turns blustery. Be sure to serve with strong mustard, piquant cornichons, and a firkin or so of good ale.
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, low calorie, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturemeaty, rich, savory, spiced
Type of Dishdip/spread
- 1½ pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1½ teaspoons freshly milled black pepper
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon whole coriander seeds, crushed lightly with the back of a knife
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ pound fatback or lard (easily procured from one's butcher), cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Cornichons, for serving
- Strong mustard, for serving
- Crisp Fired Crackers or crusty bread, for serving
In a large bowl, combine the meat, brandy, pepper, salt, coriander, allspice, garlic, and bay leaves. Cover tightly and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight, then let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat one's oven to 300 degrees.
Lift the meat and bay leaves from the marinade and transfer them to a Dutch oven. Stir the fatback and onion into the meat; pour ½ cup water over the mixture and drop in the thyme. Cover the pot and let the meat braise slowly until it is meltingly tender and most of the watery liquid has evaporated (with only rendered fat remaining), 3½ to 4 hours. If any liquid remains, simmer gently, uncovered, on the stovetop until evaporated; discard the thyme and bay leaves.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat and any bits of partially rendered fatback to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until meat is shredded. (Although we find it a bit unnecessarily tedious, one might also perform this step with a fork.) Slowly beat in all but ¼ cup of the pork fat left behind in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
Spoon the potted pork into one medium crock or several individual crocks. Spoon the reserved ¼ cup fat over the pork in an even layer, like sealing wax. Let cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and chill for at least 4 hours and up to a weeks (we have on occasion even frozen this for up to 3 months). Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving with cornichons, mustard, and crackers or crusty bread.
2011 Sarah Huck and Jaimee Young