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French Food Recipes: Goose Rillettes and Goose Leg Confit

This two-in-one recipe for both goose leg confit and goose rillettes requires a bit of planning ahead, but is not difficult or time consuming to make. Four goose legs with thighs attached will yield a good amount of rillettes and you’ll have an extra goose leg confit with enough meat to serve two. After the goose confit is cooked, there will be even more goose fat left than the amount with which you started.

This recipe can easily be modified to use duck meat instead of goose. Duck rillettes and duck confit are perhaps considered more traditional French foods, but both are equally delicious.

goose confit

Goose Confit Ingredients:

4 raw young goose legs with thighs attached, about 6 lbs.

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

25 cloves garlic

8 – 10 bay leaves, fresh or dried

8 – 10 sprigs fresh thyme

2 ½ lbs. rendered goose fat

Goose Confit Instructions:

Sprinkle 2 ½ tablespoons salt and the black pepper on the meat side of the goose legs. Put two goose legs in a 9 x 13 glass pan, skin side down. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves and thyme on the meat side of the goose legs. Put the remaining two goose legs, meat side down on top of the others. The goose legs will be flesh to flesh with only the skin showing. Sprinkle the remaining ½ tablespoon salt on top of the goose legs (skin side). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 – 36 hours to cure the meat.

Remove the garlic, bay leaves and thyme from the cured goose legs and set aside. Rinse the salt and pepper from the goose legs under cool water. Pat the goose legs dry with paper towels. Place the garlic, 5 bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme in the bottom of a large pot. Put the goose legs in the pot, fitting them as tightly as possible in the bottom of the pan (two legs in the bottom, skin side down, with the other two on top, skin side up). Add the rendered goose fat to the pan and set the stove burner to medium heat. Once the goose fat has melted, change the heat to low and allow the legs to simmer on low heat for about three hours, or until the meat is falling off the bones and fully tender.

Remove the goose legs, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic from the fat. Strain the fat and reserve for another use. There will be at least 2 ½ – 3 lbs. of goose fat.

The goose confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month if the legs are covered with goose fat. The excess strained goose fat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month or in the freezer for six months to a year. Use the goose fat to fry vegetables or potatoes or use again to make duck or goose confit.

goose or duck rillettes

Goose Rillettes Ingredients:

3 goose legs confit

1 onion, minced

¼ cup cognac or brandy

3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced

25 garlic cloves, reserved from goose confit

½ cup plus one tablespoon rendered goose fat, reserved from the goose confit

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

sea salt to taste

Goose Rillettes Instructions:

Saute the onions in 1 tablespoon reserved rendered goose fat until the onions are soft and lightly golden. Put the cognac or bandy in the pan with the onions and immediately set the alcohol on fire, tipping the pan towards the gas flame of the stove or by using a match. Set aside.

Remove the goose meat from the bones, while the goose confit is still warm.  Discard the skin and bones. Shred the goose meat slightly in your hands and place the chunks in the bowl of a food processor.

Add the cooked onions, parsley, reserved garlic cloves, goose fat, and salt and pepper to taste to the goose meat. Process all the ingredients just until the meat is shredded and the ingredients are mixed. Do not over process or the mixture will turn into a paste.

Put the goose rillettes mixture in a terrine and press lightly to mold the rillettes into a rectangular shape, or spoon into ramekins. If the rillettes will not be used immediately (within a few days) cover the top of the terrine or ramekins with reserved goose fat. Store for up to one week in the refrigerator.

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