How to Make Duck Rillettes from Duck Confit

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From Scratch: 10 Meals, 175 Recipes, and Dozens of Techniques You Will Use Over and Over

From Scratch

By Michael Ruhlman

Published 2019

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If you have a good supply of duck confit, you may not want to eat whole legs all the time. Or sometimes you want to be able to serve a lot of people with it. A great solution is to make duck rillettes, which, like pork rillettes (the original form of the preparation) are cooked till falling-apart tender, heavily seasoned, and served as a spread for croutons. Rillettes make a fabulous hors d’oeuvre.

To make them, remove one or more legs from the fat. Put them in a bowl and warm them in a microwave just until they’re tender and the fat has rendered off them. Remove the skin and chop it till it’s very fine. Remove the meat and discard the bones. Combine the skin and meat in the bowl of a standing mixer (or mixing bowl if you don’t have a mixer). Season it as you wish and mix with the paddle attachment (or a stiff spoon), adding enough reserved fat from the bowl until it’s spreadable. Transfer to ramekins or a small bowl and serve with toasted bread and whole-grain mustard and cornichons.

If the duck is nicely seasoned already from the cooking, you may not need to season the rillettes further. But the classic French combination called quatre épices works well with duck: ground black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. You’ll have to experiment and see what you like best, but for every cup or so of rillettes, try adding ¼ teaspoon black pepper and a pinch each of the remaining spices. Taste and add more as necessary.

In the next chapter, you’ll find an all-purpose method for preparing a Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder. Among the other things you can do with this shoulder is make pork rillettes, using this very same seasoning, along with some allspice. Make sure it’s properly seasoned with salt as well.

Rillettes are traditionally preserved below a layer of fat. If you’d like to do this, render the appropriate fat, duck or pork, and pour it over the cold rillettes so that they’re covered by about ¼ inch/6 millimeters of fat. They will keep like this for 3 weeks or longer in the refrigerator.