duck rillettes
with star anise and rosemary

Many thanks to de tour coeur limousin for permission to reproduce this recipe

Rillettes are a preparation of meat similar to pâté, and normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.

The term rillette is thought to refer to the final product and its appearance when spread on sliced bread. Rillettes were traditionally made with fatty pork belly or pork shoulder, but here is a scrumptious recipe using duck legs. Not surprisingly, this dish has many regional variations but tend to be focused on Sarthe, Tours and Anjou in particular.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6 as a starter or light lunch)

·         1 kg duck legs

·         3-4 star anise

·         2-3 cloves 

·         1 tbs fennel seeds

·         3 bay leaves

·         2-3 sprigs rosemary

·         1 large glass red wine

·         about 250ml of stock/water

·         3-4 whole cloves of garlic

·         1 roughly chopped onion 

·         2 roughly chopped carrots

·         salt and pepper to taste


·         Fry the duck legs for about 15 minutes in a large pan to gently brown and render off some of the fat.  Pour the fat carefully away into a heatproof container a few times during frying. (Don't throw this away as it's great for roasting potatoes or even frying an egg!)

·         Transfer the duck legs into a large casserole dish/slow cooker with all the other ingredients.

·         Cook on a low heat for 4-5 hours in the slow cooker/casserole or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.  

·         Remove the duck legs from the cooking liquid and set aside for a few moments until cool enough to handle.

·         Strain the remaining cooking liquid/fat through a sieve.

·         Shred the duck meat finely with a couple of forks then place in small ramekins or a larger jar.

·         Pour some of the cooking liquid/fat over the top of your rillettes and either serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.  Remove from the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the rillettes to soften slightly. 

Serve on crusty French bread with a few cornichons and a green salad on the side.


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