Unctuous and oh-so-rich, rillettes are potted jars or terrines of shredded duck confit packed in even more fat. A little dab goes a long way, which is why the French call the process of making rillettes “stretching.” It’s an ingenious food preservation method that matches the no-waste ethos of thrift with the luxurious richness of fat.
- 4 legs duck confit
- 1 tablespoon Calvados or other brandy
- 2 to 3 tablespoons melted duck fat plus more for sealing
- Kosher salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
Remove meat and skin from duck legs and discard bones. Shred meat and finely chop skin, then transfer to a large bowl. Add Calvados and stir. Add duck fat, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring between additions, until meat is moist with a spreadable consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper as necessary.
Pack meat into an 8-ounce terrine or 2 4-ounce ramekins, pressing down gently to compress, and leaving about a ½ inch clear at the top for the fat seal. Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour. Remove and pour a layer of melted fat, about a ¼-inch thick, over meat to completely seal terrines.
Cover and refrigerate rillettes for at least 1 day, or up to 1 month, to let flavors develop. Bring rillettes to room temperature before serving; we love them as part of a cheese and charcuterie board with bread, cornichons, and Dijon mustard.