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Potted Duck in a glass jar with toast

Potted Duck | Rillettes de Canard

  • Author: Azlin Bloor
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


Potted Duck recipe. Or Rillettes de Canard as the French call it. A classy little starter that can be made days ahead.
(Total time does not take into account the marinating, cooling and refrigerating.)


  • 2 duck legs
  • 2 heaped Tbsp duck fat
  • 250ml (1 cup) dry white wine (optional)
  • water as needed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt

For Marinating

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 heaped Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Calvados

For shredding/potting

  • 2 Tbsp Calvados or any brandy (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Start with marinating the Duck Legs Overnight

  1. Pound the garlic, thyme, rosemary and salt to get a rough paste. Stir in the Calvados.
  2. Rub this all over the duck legs, getting under folds and skin as necessary.
  3. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight.

Cooking the Duck Legs

  1. Rinse the duck legs well and pat dry.
  2. Heat the duck fat in a shallow pan on medium-high heat.
  3. Brown both sides of the duck, about 2 minutes each.
  4. Standing slightly away from the pan, pour in the white wine fairly quickly. The duck fat will sizzle, but it shouldn’t really protest too much about the wine being added. Follow this up with enough water to completely submerge the duck legs. Make sure the skin side is facing up. This will help to keep the meat moist as the liquid reduces.
  5. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns and salt, and bring to a boil.
  6. Then lower the heat right down, and simmer for 3 hours. Maybe even 4. You want the duck meat to be very, very soft at the end of that time.
  7. When done, take it off the heat, and leave the duck to cool in the liquid. I leave it overnight, only because I usually get this done towards the end of the day. Leave it covered.

Shredding and Potting

  1. When the duck legs are cool enough, take all the meat off the bones, lose the skin, and any ligaments and tendons.
  2. Place the meat in a bowl and shred, shred, shred with 2 forks. Keep adding the liquid and the fat to moisten and flavour. And add the Calvados little by little too, if you are using it. You can also beat the meat with a wooden spoon, if you like, to make it softer and almost emulsified. Season with lots of pepper and enough salt. Keep tasting it.
  3. When done, pot it up into little ramekins. Skim off the fat from your pan, and top the meat with it.
  4. Cover with foil and keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving, and up to a week.


Total time does not take into account the marinating, cooling and refrigerating.

  • Category: Starter
  • Method: Medium
  • Cuisine: British and French

Keywords: duck recipes, christmas, festive