“This recipe is very French! I remember eating some rillettes with oysters for appetizers and some rose or white wine very often. My Grandmother was famous to make this recipe, her secret was to add a shot of pastis in it but sssssshhhhhhhuuuuutttt! I hope you will enjoy it. Cheers!” -Pénélope Roche
Mix together the brandy or whisky with the garlic, salt, pepper, juniper, and allspice berries with the pork cubes in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate over night.
In a large covered saucepan or a medium sized casserole dish, heat the pork belly pieces with 1/3 cup of water over low hear. Gently cook for 15 min, occasionally stirring, rendering the fat out of the pork pieces. If the water evaporates, add a little bit more to help render.
Preheat the oven for 250F
Add the macerated pork and any liquid to the pan along with the thyme. Cook and stir frequently for about 15 min, until the pieces of pork are cooked on the outside. Cover the pan and put it into the oven.
Check the pan after 1.5 hours of cooking by pressing on the chunks of fat with a fork to release more liquid and to help them break down. Add the wine, replace the lid, and bake for another 1-2 hours until the pork is very soft.
Remove the pork from the oven, pick out the thyme branches and discard. If your pork has extra liquid, drain it over a sleeve and keep the juices. Press on any visible rendered fat pieces to get the liquid, then remove them from the pan and discard them.
Pour most of the fat out of the pan into a small bowl and reserve. Scrape the meat chunks, pan juices and brown bits into the bowl of a stand mixer. The spices should all be very soft and dissolved, so it’s not a problem to include them.
Mix the meat on low to medium speed with the paddle attachment until well mashed. Another option is to mash it by hand in a bowl by using a fork. The mixture should have the consistency of a dry tuna salad. Add enough of the reserved liquefied fat to make it juicy and moist about 3 tbsp. The more fat that you add, the richer and creamier it will be.
To serve, spread on fresh baguettes or crostinis and serve with cornichons. Serve at room temperature. The mixture will keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.