A classic French spread for crusty bread.
8 duck legs, about 5 oz. each
1/4 cup sea salt
3 bay leaves
5 thyme sprigs, lightly crushed
3-1/4 lb. goose fat
A few whole black peppercorns (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve
Step 1: Put the duck legs in a bowl, skin side down. Add the salt, 2 of the bay leaves and 4 of the thyme sprigs and season with pepper. Toss well, then cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 2 hours. The longer you leave the duck to marinate, the more flavour your dish will have.
Step 2: Heat the oven to 250°F. Briefly rinse the duck legs under cold running water to remove the excess salt, then drain on paper towels.
Step 3: Melt the goose fat in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over low heat. Add the duck and toss until well coated, then transfer to the heated oven, uncovered, and cook, without stirring, 6 hours, or until the meat is falling easily from the bone. Remove the duck legs from the pan, discard the skin and bones and shred the meat into a mixing bowl, using a fork. Mix in a little of the warm goose fat to moisten.
Step 4: Transfer the mixture to a sealable jar, or to a small earthenware dish, and press it down. Pour a film of goose fat over the top to seal it, then top with the remaining thyme sprig and bay leaf and a few whole peppercorns. Cover with waxed paper and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using to enhance the flavour. The remaining goose fat can be put in a jar and kept for other uses. Serve the rillettes with crusty bread.
See more recipes from Daniel Galmiche.
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Galmiche's French Brasserie Cookbook (2011 Duncan Baird).