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Wednesday 29 February 2012

Sluttishly Savoury: Rillettes de Canard

I have a bit of hassle in my local supermarket. For some reason, despite the fact I'm turning 30 later this year, they think I look under the legal drinking age. It's part charming, part frustrating. I promise, if you get ID'ed when buying spirits, just tell the cashier that your brandy is for the duck legs and that you're making rillettes de canard. You'll get your booze. No one under 18 makes rillettes de canard. It's a bit posh, and the French name makes it sound well fancy. The Asda cashier looked stumped and I went on my way with my brandy.

It might sound posh, but really this is duck on toast. You see, I don't like pate. I've tried, but the texture gives me the shivers. I don't like liver, it's just not my thing. But I like the idea of pate. Tasty things smeared on carbs is my idea of a proper dinner. Rilettes de canard is my happy dish for this reason. Cook the duck for hours in brandy, tear it into pieces and smoosh into ramekins with goose fat. The French call that dinner and I'm not going to disagree with them.

You'll need:
  • 2 duck legs
  • sea salt
  • 50ml cognac
  • 70g goose fat
  • bay leaves and thyme
Make it!
  1. Salt the duck legs and leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 180 degrees, making sure duck legs are free from any excess salt.
  3. Mix the fat and brandy in a shallow casserole dish and soak the duck legs, making sure they're covered in the mixture. Tuck in the thyme and bay leaves.
  4. Pop in the oven on a low shelf for a couple of hours. You might need to spoon the brandy mix over them halfway through if they're getting a little dry.
  5. Once the legs are brown and crisp, remove from the oven (careful, they'll be spitty). 
  6. Leave them until they're cool enough to pull the meat off the bone. You don't need the skin for this recipe, but if you don't eat it when no one is looking, I'm going to judge you so hard.
  7. Make sure the duck is torn into little shreds, chopping any larger bits roughly if needed and then smoosh and pack tighly into ramekins. Smear a layer of duck or goose fat over the top and pop in the fridge.
  8. Once it's chilled, serve with melba toast or flat breads or that nice French bread from the bakery down the road (no, Hovis won't cut it). This is perfect with cheese and those mini gherkin things that you bought on a whim and never used.


  1. I'm going to make this just for the skin. Mmm...

    Ok, I might also make it so I can have duck on toast too.

  2. *whispers* It's rillettes dE canard...

    1. Thanks Anon! What's the difference between de and du in French?

  3. In this case, it indicates the difference between "rillettes (made) of duck" and "rillettes of the duck".


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