Rillettes are prepared from cooked, shredded meat and are served in ways similar to pâté. Ready-made rillettes are widely available from delicatessens, but they are also easy to make yourself – with the bonus that you also get to use the meat or poultry of your choice. As well as the traditional pork belly, you can make rillettes from duck, goose, rabbit or even wild boar. Served with toasted baguette and other charcuterie, they make an ideal starter.
Put the duck legs in a bowl, skin-side down. Add the salt, 2 of the bay leaves and 4 of the thyme sprigs and season with pepper. Toss well, then cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours. The longer you leave the duck to marinate the more flavour your dish will have.
Melt the goose fat in a large cast iron casserole dish over a low heat. Add the duck and toss until well coated, then transfer to the preheated oven, uncovered, and
Transfer the mixture to a sealable jar, or to a small earthenware dish, and press it down. Pour a film of goose fat over the top to seal it, then top with the remaining thyme sprig and bay leaf and a few whole peppercorns, if liked. Cover with greaseproof paper and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using to enhance the flavour. The remaining goose fat can be put in a jar and kept for other uses.
Serve with crusty bread.
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