This larder stand-by cross between a pate and a rillette is well-worth the advance investment of time. It will keep for weeks and just needs to come be brought to room temperature for serving with good bread and pickles.
Makes: 1 litre’s worth of jars
1 jointed rabbit
400g rindless fatty pork belly, cut into 5cm chunks
70g pancetta or bacon lardons
2 bay leaves
1onion, skinned and quartered
2whole, unpeeled garlic cloves
4 thyme sprigs
8juniper berries, crushed
2 broad strips of orange peel
100ml amontillado or pale cortado sherry
2 tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp ground allspice
220g unsalted butter
a sprig of parsley or dill for each jar
storage jars of total capacity 1 litre
Lay the rabbit pieces, pork belly and pancetta/ bacon in a single layer in a large casserole dish.Tuck around the bay leaves, onion, garlic, thyme, juniperand orange peel.Give it a good grinding of pepper and then pour over the sherry. Add enough water to just cover the meat with liquid. Bring to a high simmer, turn the heat down very low, and put the lid on.
Check after an hour that it is not drying out. Then after another hour turn the heat off but don’t lift the lid. Leave it alone for 30 mins.
Set a colander over a saucepan and strain everything from the casserole into it, making sure to keep the cooking liquid. Once cool enough to handle, separate out the rabbit meat, belly pork meat and pancetta into a large mixing bowl. Strip the fat away from thepork belly meat as you go - the fat goes into amortar, while the meat gets added to the rabbit and pancetta. Discard the bay leaves, onion, garlic, thyme, juniper and orange peel.
Mix the meats together, shredding with your fingers or a pair of forks to get the consistency you want. Pestle the belly fat to a paste in the mortar, throwing away any pieces that won’tsoften. Stir the fat through the meat along with themustard, a good grating of nutmeg, the allspice and a ladleful of the cooking stock. Add more stock slowly to get a firm but moist texture. Check the seasoning.
Pack into sterilised jars, pressing down with the back of a spoon to eliminate any air pockets. Fill to about half an inch from the top of the jar.
To make the seal of clarified butter:melt the butter over a very low heat. Sit a square of muslin(or a thin cotton tea-towel) in a sieve and pour boiling water over it. Set the sieve with its cloth lining over a jugthen pour the melted butter through.
Pour half a centimetre of strained butter over the top of each jar. Leave for a minute then lay the herb spring on top. Leave to cool, putlids on and store your potted meats in the fridge. Ideally don’t eat for at least weekto let the flavours develop. The unopened jars will keep for a couple of months but once the butter seal has been broken eat within a couple of days, making sure to bring the potted meat to room temperature before serving.