Chef's Recipes

Duck rillettes with piccalilli

An excellent start to a hearty dinner party or picnic, these duck rillettes with piccalilli are a special at Curtis Stone's restaurant Gwen.

By Curtis Stone
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 30 mins cooking plus brining, pickling, pressing
  • Serves 8
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Duck rillettes with piccalilli
"Rillettes are usually as simple as piling shredded duck confit into pots and refrigerating them," says Curtis Stone. "Here the meat is left in larger pieces and pressed into a terrine for a striking presentation. I serve a slice with this tangy piccalilli to cut through the richness. The piccalilli also packs a pow served with ham, bacon and eggs, a ploughman's lunch or a sharp cheese. It's quick and simple to make, which is good because bought piccalilli just doesn't cut it. Both the piccalilli and terrine are something a bit different to take to a party or picnic as they transport easily." Begin this recipe two days ahead to brine the duck and the vegetables for the piccalilli.


  • 1kg duck fat
  • 12 duck Marylands (about 220gm each), trimmed
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp green peppercorns in brine, drained well, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped sage
  • Seeded crostini and chervil sprigs, to serve
  • 250 gm cauliflower (about ¼ cauliflower), cut into very small florets
  • 225 gm green beans, trimmed, cut into 1cm rounds
  • 200 gm radishes, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 small red capsicum, cored and cut into 1cm dice 1 telegraph cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1cm dice
  • 55 gm sea salt flakes
  • 30 gm cornflour (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 500 ml white wine vinegar (2 cups)
  • 185 gm caster sugar
Duck brine
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • 70 gm sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp pink curing salt #1
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 10 cloves
  • 6 coriander seeds
  • 6 juniper berries
  • ½ cinnamon quill
  • Thinly peeled rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon


  • 1
    For piccalilli, combine cauliflower, green beans, radishes, capsicum, cucumber and salt in a bowland toss to combine. Transfer to a colander, place in a large bowl and refrigerate for a day to brine. Rinse vegetables, drain and set aside. Combine cornflour and spices in a small bowl and whisk in 60ml vinegar to form a smooth slurry. Bring sugar and remaining vinegar to the boil in a large saucepan, whisking to dissolve sugar. Whisk in slurry and simmer, whisking continuously, until thickened (2-3 minutes). Stir for about 3 minutes, or until mixture no longer tastes floury. Stir in reserved vegetables and bring back to heat. Cool slightly, pack into sterilised jars, cool and refrigerate for up to a month.
  • 2
    For duck brine, combine ingredients and 500ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove from heat, add 1.5 litres cold water and cool to room temperature. Place duck in a large container, pour brine over, cover and refrigerate for a day. Drain, rinse duck and pat dry with paper towels.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 150C. Place duck fat in a large, deep flameproof roasting pan wide enough to fit duck legs in a single layer and melt over medium heat. Add duck (it should be submerged), cover tightly with 2 sheets of foil, transfer to oven and cook until meat is very tender and pulls easily from bones (3-3½ hours). Remove duck from fat (duck fat can be cooled and reused 2 or 3 times, but can get salty after repeated use), cool slightly then discard skin from duck legs and pull meat from bones, leaving meat in large pieces. Place in a large bowl, add vinegar, green peppercorns, sage and 60ml duck fat, season to taste and gently toss to combine.
  • 4
    Line an 8cm-deep, 9cm x 15cm (1-litre) terrine with plastic wrap, leaving overhang, add duck mixture, packing it into an even layer to remove any air pockets, and fold plastic wrap over to cover. Poke holes with a skewer through plastic wrap to prevent air bubbles in terrine. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit and place on top, weight with food cans and refrigerate overnight to set. Rillettes will keep for up to a week.
  • 5
    Unmould terrine and cut into 1cm-thick slices. Stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Serve with crostini and piccalilli garnished with chervil.


Pink curing salt is salt with nitrate added which helps preserve the colour and reduces the risk of botulism. It’s available from specialty food stockists such as The Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot. If it’s unavailable, leave it out.
Drink Suggestion: 2015 Antica Terra Angelicall Pinot Noir Rosé, Oregon – a rosé that can hold up to the richness of the rillettes while having enough soft fruit to play to the complexity of the piccalilli. Drink suggestion by Fahara Zamorano