It's also much fattier. But according to Jennifer McLagan, author of this week's Cook the Book selection, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, that isn't so bad. In her cookbook, a veritable ode to all things butter and lard, she includes instructions for making Goose, Rabbit, and Spanish-Style Pork Rillettes. Of course, there is also a recipe for classic Duck Rillettes, which I've excerpted for you today.
I recommend serving the rillettes with slices of toasted baguette and a bottle of lightly spiced pinot noir or merlot.
- 1 1/2 pounds duck legs, neck, wings, skin, and fat
- 10 1/2 ounces pork belly, skin removed
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 orange
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- Freshly ground black pepper and fine sea salt
Cut the duck legs, neck, and wings in half. Cut the skin and fat into small pieces and the pork belly into 3/4-inch pieces. Place all duck and pork in a large bowl and add the wine. Remove a large strip of zest from the orange and set the orange aside. Peel and halve the garlic cloves, removing the germ (where the shoot starts). 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 oven to 250ºF.
Tip the duck mixture with all the seasonings 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.
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.
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.
The cooking liquid will have separated into fat and juices. Carefully pour off the fat and set aside. Add about 1/4 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 then squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice. Stir the zest and juice into the mixture.
Pack the mixture into ceramic dishes (I use individual soufflé dishes) or a terrine, leaving 1/4-inch 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 (if you don't have quite enough fat from cooking the rillettes to seal the dishes, you can use clarified butter instead). Leave the rillettes for 2 or 3 days to allow the flavors to meld. Sealed with fat, the rillettes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Once the seal is broken, eat the rillettes within a week.