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Lamb rillettes

Lamb rillettes
Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Served in pretty, hinged Mason jars, squat glass pots or ceramic ramekins, rillettes -- savory, toothsome meats or fish that have been braised or prepared as confit-- are multiplying on restaurant menus, a second wave in L.A.'s charcuterie renaissance. "I ... Read more

Total time: 4 hours, 10 minutes, plus 24 hours marinating time for the lamb | Makes 12 ( 1/4 cup) servings

Braised lamb

  • 2 1/2 pounds combined lamb neck, shoulder and shank
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced, peeled carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 head whole garlic, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup best-quality olive oil
  • 2 cups quality chicken broth
  • 4 ounces lamb fat
  • 1/2 cup duck fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Step 1In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the lamb with the onion, carrot, celery, white wine, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for 24 hours.

Step 2Strain, reserving the wine. Separate the lamb, herbs and wine from the vegetables and reserve each individually. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Step 3Place a medium, oven-safe casserole (with a lid, to be used later) over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add the olive oil, then the lamb and sear the pieces on all sides to a rich brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lamb from the casserole and set aside.

Step 4Add the vegetables and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the reserved wine and deglaze the casserole, scraping up the flavoring at the base.

Step 5Return the lamb to the casserole and add the chicken broth, lamb fat, duck fat, the reserved herbs and the sea salt, stirring to combine.

Step 6Bring to a slow boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer, cover the casserole with the lid and place it in the oven. Braise the lamb until it falls apart at the touch, about 2 1/2 hours.

Step 7Remove the lamb, vegetables and herbs from the casserole, leaving the liquid. Set aside the lamb, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Place the casserole over high heat on the stove top and reduce the liquid by half. Remove from heat and set aside one-half cup of the reduced liquid to make the rillettes, discarding the rest or reserving it for another use.

Step 8Remove the meat from the lamb bones and finely shred. Set aside the shredded meat, discarding the bones. You will have about 1 pound.

Lamb rillettes

  • 1 pound shredded braised lamb
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon sliced chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup duck fat
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
  • 1/2 cup warm reduced braising liquid
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, parsley, chives, tarragon, thyme, shallots and duck fat, using your hands or a fork to thoroughly combine.

Step 2Stir in the butter and reduced braising liquid until incorporated. Season with one-half teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper, or to taste.

Step 3Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed; allow the rillettes to come to room temperature before serving.

Note: From Octavio Becerra of Palate Food and Wine. Lamb neck, shoulder, shank and fat are available at Huntington Meats, Marconda's Meats and Owen's Market in Los Angeles. Check with your local butcher. Duck fat is available at Whole Foods stores, Surfas in Culver City and other specialty food markets. Becerra packs rillettes in 3-ounce Mason jars, and serves them with croutons and pickles.


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