Rilletes is a meat dish similar to paté. Originally it was made with pork. The meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly until it falls apart, then shredded, blended with melted pork fat and finally left to set. Nowadays rilletes are made with all kinds of other meats like goose, duck, chicken, game birds, rabbit and sometimes fish. Normally rilletes are used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.
The rilletes have originated in Tours in the 15th century. The term "rilletes" can be found for the first time in a document from 1480. It applied to pieces of pork of elongated shape or cut into strips. The rillés or rillettes remained for a long time as domestic preparations to preserve pork. In 1869 became known the rilletes produced in Le Mans. They soon became very popular and by the 20th century the notoriety of the Tours rilletes declined in favor of the ones from Le Mans. The difference between the two types of rilletes is that the ones from Le Mans have goose meat added to them, while the ones from Tours are kept in the original all-pork version.
Rilletes appeared in Paris at the end of the 19th century, especially the Le Mans variety.
The rilletes are used as appetizers or sandwich filling. The trend is making rillettes less fat, softer and easier to spread.
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Rillettes from Tours, www.french-property.com
Le Mans Rillettes de Porc, www.french-property.com
Rillettes - rillons, www.cuisinealafrancaise.com
Dossier sur les rillettes, www.cooking2000.com