Cheddar Rillettes

Unlike traditional rillettes—such as pork or duck—which rely on fat to preserve and flavor the meat, this pimento cheese–inspired version made with cheddar incorporates rendered bacon fat to create the perfect texture and lend a pleasant, smoky flavor. Sprinkle the crisp bacon on top for crunchy contrast.

Cheddar Rillettes
Unlike traditional rillettes—such as pork or duck—which rely on fat to preserve and flavor the meat, this pimento cheese–inspired version made with cheddar incorporates rendered bacon fat to create the perfect texture and lend a pleasant, smoky flavor. Sprinkle the crisp bacon on top for crunchy contrast. Photo: Greg DuPree
Total Time:
20 mins
Yield:
Makes about 1 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 4 center-cut bacon slices (about 5 ounces), finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated shallot or white onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • Kosher salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until rendered and crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Transfer 2 tablespoons rendered bacon drippings to a small bowl; discard remaining drippings.

  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, shallot, and hot sauce in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in reserved bacon drippings, whisking constantly, until blended. Combine mayonnaise mixture and cheese in a food processor, and pulse until cheese is very finely chopped, about 4 times. Scrape into a serving bowl, and season with salt. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve with crudités, toasted bread, or crackers.

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