Those that know Rillettes know how delicious it is. Like, can’t stop eating the spreadable meat, rich in flavor and texture. Those that have never made it and love a two to three-day challenge are going to LOVE making this!
Now rillette was an old school way (for these purposes, in France) for potting and preserving meats; pork Rillettes and duck or a combination were the most common. Without refrigeration there needed to be a way to preserve leftover meats or slow cooked and shredded tougher cuts, to get folks through the winter. Using seasonings, cognac or brandy, then sealing them with rendered fat or clarified butter, allowed households to hold on to a high protein, rich in fat, meal, for those “leaner” months.
Today we love Rillettes throughout the year! At restaurants, they are popular on charcuterie platters and an excellent way for Chefs and Garde Manger banquette chefs to express their creativity. At home, they can be an “in case company comes” offering or a fantastic midnight snack.
Easier to make than what you would assume, just allow yourself two to three days for the final product. Have fun and enjoy!
5-pound whole duck
The peel of one orange, no pith (the white part)
6 sliced fresh ginger, unpeeled coin thick
4 large cloves fresh garlic, tightly crushed
7 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
1/2 cup small diced shallots
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon room temp butter
3 tablespoon duck fat
3 tablespoons heated duck jelly (chilled duck stock)
1 teaspoon pink peppercorn (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Rinse and pat dry your whole duck. Remove the wings to the first joint and reserve along with any giblets except the liver.
In a 9x13 baking pan cross two long sections of heavy duty aluminum foil inside the pan. Season the inner cavity with In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” or your own salt and cracked back pepper.
Combine the orange peel, fresh thyme, bay leaf, sliced ginger, and garlic. Stuff the inside cavity with these aromatics and flavorings, and seal up the opening by needling a bamboo skewer through the opposing sides. Fold up the sides of one sheet of foil sealing in the duck somewhat tightly. Spin the pan and repeat with the other sheet of foil. Place the duck in the oven and bake for 5 hours.
Once the duck has baked, remove from the oven. Loosen the foil to expose your slow baked duck along with all of its great rendered fat and dark brown stock. Carefully pour the liquid contents into a glass or heatproof liquid measuring cup. This will allow the fat and duck stock to separate.
Make sure the poured liquid and the baked duck are cooled (at least room temp). Refold the foil over the duck and cover the liquid container. Place both in the fridge overnight to chill.
The next day remove both the chilled duck liquid and the baked duck. Scrape off the layer of duck fat from the liquid measure cup and place in a small dish. Keep the “duck jelly” (chilled duck stock) in the measuring cup.
Peel away the skin of the duck and discard. Pull as much meat off the carcass and bones of the roast duck while lightly shredding. Place all of the meat into a large mixing bowl. Place the bare bones and spent carcass in a medium soup pot to make duck stock later.
With a large fork mix and break up the duck to start “smoothing” it out. Add the room temp softened butter, 2 tablespoons of duck fat and mix to cream the duck meat. Season with a pinch of Cook’s Line Seasoning or salt and pepper to taste. Add the cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and cognac. Mix well.
In a small sauté pan add the last tablespoon of duck fat and begin heating. Add the diced shallots, a small pinch of Cook’s Line, and the 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped thyme. Cook gently until fragrant and the shallots are tender. Pour the entire mixture, duck fat and all into the mixing bowl with the creamed duck.
Add the 3 tablespoons of “duck jelly” to the hot pan to melt into stock and deglaze the pan. Pour the stock into the mixing bowl with the creamed duck. Give it all a good mix to cream some more. Taste for any additional seasoning and season to taste.
In two 6 ounce glass seal containers, or anything you have that can be stored covered in the refrigerator, start packing in the duck rillette. Fill both containers evenly leaving at least 1/4 inch from the top of the container. Smooth out the top evenly.
Pour clarified butter over the top of each container of rillette to seal the contents. Chill to solidify the butter. Cover and store in the fridge ideally for one day before eating. This allows all the flavors to develop. If you can't wait (like I couldn’t) dig in!
Spread the rillette over toasted baguette slices (croutons) or fresh bread. Serve with Dijon-style mustard, Cornichons, fresh radish, even sweet preserves or paste.
For that duck stock: Add the spent carcass ad bones from the baked duck into a medium stock pot. Add the trimmed wings and giblets (except the liver) to the pot. Add the remaining “duck Jelly”, bouquet garni, and mirepoix. Cover in cold water and simmer gently for and hour or two. Skim any scum from the top and discard. Strain the stock discarding the solids. Pour the stock into a clean non metal, sealable container. Cool to room temp then either chill in the fridge to place the freezer. Use as needed.