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Duck Rillettes with Crispy Sautéed Potatoes, Squid and Mesclun


1 recipe Duck Confit
1/4 cup minced onions
1 tablespoon Cognac (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
1 Yukon Potato finely sliced with a mandolin
2 tablespoons fat, reserved from the confit
1 squid per person


Duck confit is one of my favorite dishes to cook. It can be made several days ahead and stays well in the refrigerator immersed in duck fat for weeks, although it will be long gone by then. The only difficult part of the dish is accumulating the duck fat which is rather expensive now to purchase. For that reason I tend to buy a whole duck, render my own duck fat use the carcass for duck stock leaving the breast for a magret dish and legs for confit. Considering what a whole duck costs and what the final products are: ducks are a great value in cooking. Furthermore, what many cooks are unaware of is the health benefits to duck fat. I must admit I was unaware of this in my early cooking days. But, many trips to France, and spending time researching the field I am now aware that duck fat has some very interesting properties.

Duck fat contains 35.7% saturates, 50.5% monounsaturates (high in linoleic acid) and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats.(which contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential oils). This compares to olive oil which is: 75% monounsaturated fat (mostly oleic acid) 13% saturated fat and 10% Omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% Omega-3 linoleic acid. The main difference between chicken, turkey and duck is that duck contains more linoleic acid, which chicken and turkey contain a higher amount of polyunsaturated fats --- Read more about Health Benefits of Duck Fat

Preparation of Duck Confit

One of two days ahead marinate the duck.6 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper, 3 smashed and diced garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme.

Note: This is my standard marinade, but you can either add or delete several items. Some marinates work nice using ginger and star anise instead of juniper berries. What's most important is salt which will draw out moisture from the legs. Just make sure to rinse and dry the legs off before cooking or the dish will be too salty.

I usually cook the duck for 3 hours and 225F and then 2 hours at about 200F. If you are preparing this dish for guests you can do the 3 hours a few days before, then on the same day just leave the pot in the oven for two hours at 200F. You have to monitor this dish after 3 hours to be careful that the duck does not release from the bone. It won't be a problem with taste but will be more difficult in presentation and for crisping the skin.

Preparation of the Potatoes

Slice potatoes using a mandolin. Add some duck fat to a hot nonstick frying pan. Layer the potatoes in a circle. Sauté till crispy. Set aside to dry on a paper towel, then cut out molds the same size as the rillettes serving.

Preparing the Rillettes

Mix the rillettes, cognac, salt and pepper, and duck fat either by hand or using a food processor. Only a few pulses will be needed. Do not let the mixture turn into a paste!

Preparing the Squid

Score the squid. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the squid in duck fat.


Lightly coat the mesclun with your choice of vinaigrette. Place some mesclun on a warmed plate. Add the squid. Form the duck rillettes using a mold. Top the mold with sautéed potatoes cut out with the same size mold.



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