Duck Rillettes

Rillettes are shredded potted meat that come originally from the South-west of France. They may be made from pork, duck, goose, rabbit or even hare, though pork is probably the most common. A combination of duck and pork is very good, and if you had a goose for Christmas and are wondering what to do with the bowl of fat you have winking at you in the fridge, this is your opportunity to put it to good use. Alternatively, you can use lard or a can of duck fat.

Ingredients

  • 4 duck leg and thigh joints, cut into 2 through the joint
  • 450 g/ 1 lb shoulder of pork, cut into cubes
  • glass of white wine
  • sprig or rosemary
  • sprig of tarragon
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • about 450 g/ 1 lb fat, melted
  • toasted sourdough bread and cornichons (the little cucumber pickles), to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3. Put the pieces of duck and the pork cubes into a heavy casserole. Add the wine, rosemary, tarragon, dried mixed herbs, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Spoon over fat to cover. It will probably take about 450 g/ 1 lb. Bring to the boil, skim, put on a lid and immediately transfer to the oven and cook for 3–4 hours. From time to time, move the pieces of meat around.

Remove from the oven. The fat should now be completely clear, and pass through a sieve into a bowl. When cool enough to handle, pull the duck off the bones and use 2 forks to shred the duck and pork. Taste the meat and season with a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it, taking into account that cold things need more seasoning.

Now put the meat into another bowl, add 5–6 tablespoons of the fat and mix in gently. Pack this mixture into sterilized Kilner jars, pouring a little more fat on top. (Pour the remaining fat into a bowl and refrigerate to use for roasting potatoes or for making confit or more rillettes.) Refrigerate for 3 days before eating. The rillettes will keep for a month unopened and improve in flavour during that time.

Ideally serve the rillettes with toasted sourdough bread and cornichons.

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