Meat, usually pork but also rabbit, goose, poultry, fish, etc., that is slowly cooked in seasoned fat and then pounded or pulverized (along with some of the fat) into a paste. This mixture is then packed in small pots, ramekins or other containers and covered with a thin layer of fat. Rillettes can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator providing the fatty seal is not broken. This mixture, resembling a smooth pâté, is served cold, usually as an appetizer spread on toast or bread.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
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