Duck Rillettes with Pickled Shallots

This dish is simple to make and only requires a few ingredients, but it is packed full of flavour. The duck is cooked slowly until it is falling apart, then shredded and mixed with some spices and fat. This mixture is then spread onto toast and served with pickled shallots. It is rich, salty and slightly sweet, and the perfect thing to snack on.


  • 1 duck
  • 1 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 slices of bread
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, render the duck fat over medium heat. Add the duck and cook until browned all over. Remove the duck and set aside.

3. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, allspice, cloves and nutmeg to the pot and stir to combine. Add the wine and water and bring to a simmer. Return the duck to the pot and cover with a lid or foil. Place in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours, or until the duck is falling apart.

4. While the duck is cooking, prepare the pickled shallots. In a small saucepan, combine the shallots, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots are tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.

5. When the duck is cooked, remove it from the pot and shred the meat with a fork. Add the duck fat back into the pot and cook over low heat until melted. Add the shredded duck and mix to combine.

6. To assemble, spread the duck mixture on the slices of bread. Top with pickled shallots and a little of the pickling liquid. Serve immediately.

Potential changes & improvements

If you are not a fan of duck, you could use chicken instead. The cooking time will be shorter, so keep an eye on it and check that the meat is cooked through before shredding.

For a more traditional rillettes, the duck (or chicken) could be poached instead of roasted. This will give a more delicate flavour to the dish.

What other food it works well with

This dish is perfect on its own as a snack or light meal. It would also be good served with a simple salad or some roasted vegetables.

Common Mistakes

One common mistake when making rillettes is to add too much fat. The duck should be cooked in its own fat, and then only a small amount added back in at the end. Too much fat will make the rillettes greasy and unpleasant to eat.

Nutritional Information

This dish is high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates. It is also relatively high in sodium due to the salt and pickled shallots. Allergens in this dish include:

  • Duck
  • Shallots
  • Cider vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • White wine

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