Cooking from a Portuguese perspective

From deer to rillettes…/rillettes de veado

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After a considerable amount of organisation a whole fallow deer arrives from Fermanagh! Cleaned, skinned and hanging for three days, the job of butchering was remarkably quick (2 hours) and produced an array of extraordinary roast cuts and sirloin for steaks. There is very little waste and off cuts in a deer but I was determined to keep some meat for sausages and for rillettes. This is a recipe for a slightly unusual approach to rillettes using venison neck and duck fat.

Venison Rillettes

Venison Cuts

1 neck of venison
2 cups of duck or goose fat
2 cups of duck or chicken stock
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
3 cloves
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 sticks of celery (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
sea salt

1. Place the venison neck in a casserole, season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2. Add all other ingredients to the casserole except the cinnamon and nutmeg making sure there is enough liquid/fat to cover the venison.

3. Cook under low heat for 4 hours or more (until meat shreds easily with a fork).

4. Remove the neck from the casserole and shred the meat, letting the liquid in the casserole cool down. The shredding should achieve a smooth texture made of fine meat fibers.

5. When the casserole is cold enough for the fat to separate from the liquid spoon some of the fat into the meat until the desired texture is achieved (careful not to add the liquid). The addition of fat is particularly important to venison as this is an extremely lean meat and there is no such thing as low fat rillettes!

6. Add cinnamon and nutmeg and taste to check seasoning and serve cold on white bread or crackers.

If you want to keep the rillettes for more than a week you can store in sterilized jars making sure you cover the top with fat to seal.

Hanging Fallow Deer


Written by Pedro Rebelo

February 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

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