Duck Rillettes Spread Recipe

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).



Yuki Sugiura