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No. 251: French MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)

Here is what I know about the American military’s Ready to Eat Meals or MREs: the military chefs strive to make meals that “don’t just taste good… but last … for three years stored at 80 degrees F (26 degrees C), are capable of withstanding chemical or biological attacks, and (can) survive a 10-story free fall (when packed in a crate of 12).”

American MRE: noodles in butter flavored sauce and toaster pastries

American MRE: chili macaroni

American MRE: chili macaroni

I am assuming that the French Ration de Combat Individuelle Rechauffable (Reheatable Individual Combat Rations) or RCIRs, which a friend of mine in Paris let me take a peak at, have to follow the same rigorous guidelines, as they are NATO approved.

French RCIR: slightly more gourmand...

French RCIR: slightly more gourmand…

Whatever the circumstances, you’ve got to love the French’s dedication to meal planning. I don’t know what the rest of the brave soldiers serving their countries are eating tonight, but somewhere in the world, some French soldiers are eating rillettes de saumon préparé en Bretagne (salmon pâté from Brittany).

rillettes de saumon préparé en Bretagne, along with some other very French eats...

rillettes de saumon préparé en Bretagne, along with some other very French eats…




SALMON RILLETTESFood and Wine Magazine – Anna Zepaltas

            ACTIVE: 30 MIN

            TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 45 MIN

            SERVINGS: MAKES 2 CUPS



.    1/2 pound center-cut, skinless salmon fillet

.    1 tablespoon anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod

.    Salt

.    Freshly ground white pepper

.    1 celery rib

.    1 leek, halved lengthwise

.    1 small onion, quartered lengthwise

.    1 bay leaf

.    1 teaspoon black peppercorns

.    1 cup dry white wine

.    4 cups water

.    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

.    1 large shallot, minced (1/4 cup)

.    1/2 tablespoon sour cream

.    1/4 pound skinless hot-smoked salmon, flaked

.    2 tablespoons snipped chives

.    1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

.    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

.    1/4 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

.    Toasted baguette slices, for serving



  1. On a plate, sprinkle the salmon with the anise liqueur and season with salt and white pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the celery, leek, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, wine and water to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Add the salmon to the pan, cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the salmon, picking off any peppercorns, and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes. Flake the salmon.
  4. In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened. Let cool.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until smooth. Whisk in the sour cream. Add the cooled shallot, along with the poached and smoked salmon, chives, lemon juice, olive oil and paprika and stir until combined. Season the rillettes with salt and white pepper. Serve with toasted baguette slices.


The rillettes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Pack into a crock and press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface.  Pour melted butter over the top to seal in freshness. 



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