Duck Rillettes

Once you have made the Spanish-Style pork Rillettes (p.79, Fat, an appreciation), you can make any sort of rillettes. The technique is always the same, and you can vary the flavourings to suit your taste .I like to buy a whole duck, use the breasts for Duck Breasts with Blackberries, then use up the rest of the duck to make rillettes, adding some pork belly to make sure there is enough fat in the mixture and to make the legs go a little further. Leave the duck legs on the bone, adding the wings to the mix, and don’t forget to include the neck, too, as there is a lot of meat on it. Keep the duck carcass and wing tips for stock. Serve the rillettes with baguette slices or toasts, or with salad as a starter.

Recipe author Jennifer McLagan
Fat, An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes
Photography by Leigh Beisch
Reproduced courtesy of Jacqui Small LLP

Publisher's Copyrighted Material
Category:  Starters & Salads  - 


For 8 Serving(s)


  • 700 g duck legs, neck, wings, skin and fat
  • 300 g pork belly, skin removed
  • 60 ml dry white wine
  • 1 orange
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • ground black pepper and fine sea salt

Duck Rillettes Directions

  1. 1. Cut the duck legs, neck and wings in half. Cut the skin and fat into small pieces and the pork belly into 2cm / ¾ “pieces. Place all the duck and pork into a large bowl and add the wine.

    2. Remove a large strip of zest from the orange and set the orange aside. Peel and half the garlic cloves, removing the green germ. Add the orange zest, garlic, bay leaf, coarse salt, and coriander seeds to the duck mixture. Season generously with freshly ground pepper and toss to mix. Marinate 6 to 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

    Preheat the oven to 120C / 250F

    3. Tip the duck mixture with all the seasoning and wine into a heavy casserole or Dutch oven, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is falling off the bone, about 3 hours.

    4. Remove the duck mixture from the oven, and tip it with all the fat and juices into a large fine-mesh sieve suspended over a bowl. Empty the contents of the sieve onto a large platter, then pour the liquid from the bowl into a measuring cup and set aside. Let the meat mixture cool slightly.

    5. Using your fingers, pull the meat and fat apart, discarding the bones, orange zest, and bay leaf as you go. As you work, discard any pieces of membrane that don’t shred. This takes time, so be patient. The key is to create shreds of meat and fat. Return the shredded meat mixture to the bowl.

    6. The cooking mixture will have separated into fat and juices. Carefully pour off the fat and set aside. Add about 60ml / ¼ cup of the juices to the shredded meat mixture so that it is very moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more pepper and fine sea salt if necessary. Finely grate 1 tablespoon of zest from the orange and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice. Stir the zest and juice into the mixture.

    7. Pack the mixture into ceramic dishes (I use individual soufflé dishes) or a terrine, leaving a 6mm / ¼ “gap at the top of each dish. As you pack the meat into the dishes, you will see the liquid gently oozing from the meat. Place the dishes in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up. Once the surface is firm, seal the dishes with a layer of the liquid fat and refrigerate.

    Leave the rillettes for 2 or 3 days to allow the flavours to meld. Sealed with the fat, the rillettes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Once the seal is broken, eat the rillettes within a week.

    TIP: If you don’t have enough fat from cooking the rillettes to seal the dishes, you can use clarified butter instead.

    VARIATIONS: There is no need to stop at using duck. It goes without saying that you can use goose, and rabbit also makes good rillettes. For rabbit use about 450g / 1 lb. of pork belly for every 700g / 1½ lbs. rabbit, add thyme and marjoram for flavouring, and omit the orange.