Recipe: Duck Rillettes

Image source: Photographer Dave Gleeson

Duck Rillettes with Pickled Baby Cucumber 


Serves 10-12 as a snack


Rillettes is a specialty of central France – a kind of pâte version of confit originally created as a method of preservation. Pork, goose, chicken, and game birds including duck can be used to make rillettes, and sometimes even fish such as tuna and salmon. 

The meat is generally cooked very slowly in its own fat, and that same fat becomes an important part of the final texture of the paste.

Traditionally served with pickles like cornichons and caperberries, these lightly pickled baby cucumbers are a fresh alternative.


Ingredients

•1 size 18 – 20 duck, deboned and roughly diced; or 4 duck marylands, deboned and diced

•1 brown onion, peeled and finely sliced

•2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

• Juice and zest of 1 orange

• 1/2 cup white wine

•30 ml Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)

• 200 gm duck fat

• 1/2 tsp picked thyme

• 2 bay leaves

• Salt and pepper

• 250 gm baby cucumbers, sliced

• 1/2 cup white wine vinegar

• 1/2 cup water

• 20gm castor sugar

• 1 tbs salt

• 1 baguette

• 50 gm rocket


Method

• Put duck, onion, garlic, juice and zest, wine, duck fat, thyme and bay leaves into a small heavy based saucepan.

• Simmer on a very low heat for 2 –2.5 hrs, or until the duck pieces are very soft.

• Pour off some of the fat and break up the duck mixture with a hard whisk or a fork until smooth, pouring back a little of the fat to achieve a thick paste. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, spoon into ramekins and cool.

• Whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar and salt and pour over the cucumbers. Allow to sit for 2 – 3 hours or overnight before serving.

• Serve the rillettes with the drained pickled cucumbers and plenty of crusty baguette or sourdough.

About the Author /

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Matt Golinski is a highly regarded chef with a passion for simple, produce-driven cuisine based on seasonal, fresh local ingredients. He is an active member of the Slow Food movement, a champion of artisan producers and a generous mentor to keen young chefs. He is the Food and Culinary Tourism Ambassador for the Gympie region; Ambassador and Advisory Executive Chef for Peppers Noosa; and a festival favourite.

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