My father is an interesting sort of guy. For many years for his birthday he used to ask that we go to a place that made Western style food but the chefs were all Chinese. A three course meal was $11.95 and we would sit there eating our creamed corn soup, choose our main and eat a strange sort of cake for dessert. After the meal one of us (never my father) would get a minor bout of food poisoning and we were all very relieved when this place closed down. You see my father is a patriot and whilst he loves Western food, he just likes it cooked by Chinese chefs and he thinks that everywhere else is a bit too expensive. You see the Chinese understand a bargain.
This is a dish for him because it addresses a few things for him.
a) It is French dish but cooked by a Chinese cook i.e. me.
b) It's thrifty as it is part of a Peking duck in which I made four dishes out of the one $20 Peking Duck.
c) It has Asian flavours because often if you order steak and chips at a suburban Chinese restaurant, it will still taste a little bit Chinese with the flavours...
The rillettes were actually the first idea that got me started on making the Peking Duck a four dish duck. Rillettes are a delicious potted spread made out of meat-a cousin to pate and terrines. Unlike pate which is made with liver, rillettes are made out of meat and are therefore more "accessible" to people that don't like offal. In this case I used the two legs of the Peking duck but you can also use duck confit legs or slow cook the duck legs yourself.
The process is incredibly simple. I confited the Peking duck legs by taking the already cooked legs, stripping them of the skin and bone and slow cooked the meat with herbs, onion, garlic and goose fat. Rillettes are served cold or at room temperature (I prefer the latter) with crusty bread where the fat and meat melt on the bread to create a silky, delicious spread. The added flavour of the Peking Duck gave the rillettes another flavour dimension and it wasn't long before the rillettes disappeared into hungry mouths.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you prefer rillettes or pate? Do you cook with duck often? And which out of the four dishes did you like the look of the most?
Peking Duck Rillettes
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
- 2 x duck legs and any extra meat from the duck carcass (about 500g/1 pound total bone in, skin on weight)
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Shao Xing cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons hoi sin sauce
- 3 whole star anise
- 3/4 cup goose or duck fat (plus extra if you want to put a layer of fat on top to seal and preserve it)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Bread to serve
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 120C/248F. Remove the meat from the skin and bones and place in an ovenproof container with a lid, shredding the meat roughly. Add the onion, garlic, Shao Xing cooking wine, hoi sin sauce, star anises, goose or duck fat and honey and mix together well. Place lid on the dish (or a layer of foil if there is no lid) and bake for 45 minutes.
Step 2 - Remove from oven and take out the star anise pieces. Place in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Place in a sterilised* terrine, jar or ramekin pressing down well to remove any air. You can cover it with extra goose fat to help preserve it making sure that there is no meat exposed to the air. Serve at room temperature with fresh bread.
*to sterilise a jar, bake it in a 180C/350F oven for 10 minutes.