Pommes de Terre dans les Cendres aux Rillettes

Rillettes are a bit like pâté, often made with pork, occasionally made with goose or duck. I get rillettes from my friend Dany Dubois, who makes them on her goose farm in the Dordogne (0) (Help with phone numbers). They are pure goose, and they are pure heaven.

If you cannot get rillettes, you may want to make them (see recipe in French Farmhouse Cookbook), or you may want to substitute pâté, or foie gras, or even thinly sliced farmstead cheese. However you interpret this recipe, it makes a perfect winter supper!

1 pound very small, new-sized potatoes, washed, skins on

4 small shallots, with skins

4 large cloves garlic, with skins

Rillettes or foie gras, cut in thick slices

Fleur de sel

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tonka bean – optional

  1. Build a very large fire and let it burn for most of the afternoon so you wind up with a beautiful bed of coals and a deep layer of ashes.
  2. Wrap the potatoes, shallots, and garlic in aluminum foil. Push back ashes and coal to make a sort of “nest” in them, and place the foil-wrapped packet in the nest. Cover the packet with ashes and embers, arrange the logs atop or around them so you can keep your fire burning, and don’t even think about them for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the packet from the fire. When the foil is cool enough to open – after about 5 minutes – open it and transfer the potatoes, shallots, and garlic to a warmed platter or shallow dish. Slit the potatoes, and arrange the rillettes or foie gras atop them. Season the whole dish with fleur de sel, pepper, and a generous grating of tonka bean if you have it.

Serve immediately, in front of the fire.

2 to 4 servings

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