Home > Cooking, Eating, Maundering > Was this a dirty trick?

Was this a dirty trick?

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dear  Chef Bourdain;

Your rillettes recipe was so bad, I can only imagine it was a dirty trick. I mentioned it before in a previous letter; but it didn’t seem to be going right even when I was making them. The allotted time for simmering several pounds of various sorts of pork didn’t get them in anything like condition to shred easily with a fork. Even after going an extra hour at higher heat, and then really cranking up the heat to try and render that fat, it didn’t melt. In despair, and recognizing I’d already gone off the reservation anyway – I threw it in a food processor so it was at least shredded.

But your recipe calls for a pound of thinly sliced raw fat. It doesn’t say rendered fat, it doesn’t say it should be cooked – just layered on top of the finished rilettes and “folded in”. Yeah, that was disgusting.

At the end of the day, the only rillettes that were at all like they’re supposed to be, is because MLF’s mother insisted on scraping up the bottom of the pan in which I’d cooked them. Those fatty, greasy scraps? They were awesome. The rest was dry and crumbly and basically no good.

Witness for the Prosecution: They sucked

Well, no good except that in a wretched orgy of fried foods, I wrapped some in a won-ton wrapper and deep-fat fried it, which was delicious. Hot grease drooling across my chin, molten pork-jam scalding my tongue in a last act of piggy revenge on he who consumed it. That was awesome.

I served this as a starter with Steak Tartare. That too seems like there’s something wrong with the recipe. It’s not that it was bad -in fact it was quite good – but it was quite soupy, which isn’t my expectation of what Steak Tartare should be like. I followed the recipe scrupulously, with the possible exception that there might have been slightly  more sirloin than normally – which would seem to indicate it would be more firm. Here’s the plate with  Steak Tartare on it.

Like a Soup Sandwich

If  you’ll refer to your own book, you’ll see that your steak tartare recipe is one of the few that has a picture with it, and it doesn’t resemble the product you see above. I’d be more put out about this except it was good anyway, and next time I’ll just mix the “soup” with the steak bit by bit until it has the right consistency, instead of just glopping it all in at once.

This whole dinner was a killer though. I served steak tartare, rillettes, porc mignons a l’ail, pommes puree with truffles, and onion soup les halles all at once. I was so stressed out trying to get it all to come out at once, I don’t think each individual dish was as good as it ought to be. And also I was so flustered, like a Mormon at a porn convention, that when I finally sat down to eat, I didn’t really pay proper attention to the food. The wine and rum might not have helped, either.

Or maybe it did.

I’ll let ya know how the other stuff came out, but I’m kinda honked off about those rillettes, You let me down, chef!


Categories: Cooking, Eating, Maundering
  1. Mike V.
    December 13, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Remind me to send you the rillettes recipe I use tonight or tomorrow night. I have had excellent results.

  2. Mark (aka "TheHobbit")
    December 16, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Not having much ( read: any) experience with rillettes, I can’t really compare them to anything. I preferred the tartare, but they were good: I thought the best part was the contrasts of the fine bread, creamy pork essence, and the very crisp sharp little pickle on top.

    I also agree that the tartare was a little mushy/soupy: I’ve had it where the steak was the size of a smallish pea, and that let you savor the raw animal flesh aspect a bit more: no bad thing.

    The brussel sprouts,mashed potatoes, and pork tenderloins were transcendent, and could conceivably usher in World Peace, if we could just serve them to everyone on Earth, once. Are you writing those up?

    • December 16, 2010 at 3:37 PM

      The pommes puree have already been written up – it’s a repeat of what I made for Thanksgiving. The porc mignons a l’ail is yet to come, but will be done. The brussels sprouts were a borrowed recipe from a friend, so won’t end up here, in this Bourdain-centric world. Speaking of which, I owe you that recipe.

      By the by, Mark – I made an open-faced hot sandwich of the pork, sliced very thin and heated, with a blop of mashed potatoes and a healthy ladle of hot onion soup as “gravy”. THAT was some really amazing leftovers, let me tell you.

  3. Stop this!
    November 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    This is really disgusting. Maybe you should question your attitude to Food, cooking and eating in general. Hard to understand how you can spoil such an easy basic thing as rillettes.

    • November 13, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Thanks random internet troll! You’ve helped me see the light – I really do need to completely change my attitude to all food, cooking and eating based on one failed attempt at rilletes!

  1. December 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM
  2. December 16, 2010 at 10:16 PM
  3. May 2, 2011 at 11:50 AM

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