Confit, Rillettes, Terrines

Close up of duck rillettes.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

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About | Confit | Rilletes, Pates & Terrines


This is something of a grab bag category, where you will find various sausage-like or cured things that are not really dry aged, nor fermented like salami.

Confit is essentially slow poaching in oil or fat, rillettes are a rough pâté — when I make pâtés they will be in this category, too. I also included coppa di testa, or headcheese, because it is considered part of the overall charcuterie craft. Unlike confit or rillettes, however, coppa di testa does not keep for a long time. Eat it within a week or so.

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Duck confit crisped up in a pan

Duck Confit

Start here. Duck confit is a basic skill anyone even remotely interested in cooking ducks or geese should know. It will make even the oldest, gnarliest Canada goose leg tender and wonderful — and just think what it can do for a domestic duck or goose.

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How to make pheasant confit

Pheasant Confit

A slightly different cure for making confit of pheasant or other upland game birds. Same basic process as with duck, only a different cure.

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duck gizzard confit on a plate

Duck Gizzards Confit

Duck, goose, turkey or chicken gizzards slowly cooked in duck fat, then seared with wild mushrooms.

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Wild Duck or Goose Rilletes

Slow-cooked duck or goose legs and wings, pulled from the bone and pounded with more duck fat, brandy and herbs. An especially awesome used for skinned goose legs from birds like Canadas or snow geese.

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Rillettes, Pates, and Terrines

You’ll want to read this primer on how to make rillettes before diving into the specific recipes for various fish or meats.

salmon rillettes on toast on a plate

Salmon Rillettes

The key here is the combination of both smoked and freshly poached salmon or trout. A great, easy canape for a party… or for watching the game.

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Smoked bluefish pate on crusty bread.

Smoked Bluefish Pate

Smoked bluefish mashed into a rough pâté or rillette, this is a winner on crackers. One of my go-to appetizers when I can get my hands on bluefish. Mackerel, wahoo, skipjack tuna or jacks work well here, too.

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A fancier pâté that has a piece of duck breast in the center. This is a great dish to bring for a summer party. Once it’s made, it lasts up to 2 weeks, and all you need to do to serve is slice and eat.

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Two plates of scrapple with a cup of coffee.

How to Make Scrapple

Scrapple means breakfast in the mid-Atlantic states, and this is a traditional recipe for it. Various pork bits, cornmeal, buckwheat flour, pressed into a loaf and then sliced and fried.

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overhead view of wild game terrine recipe

Game Terrine

A lovely terrine for a party or the holidays, made with a variety of game you happen to have in your freezer at the time.

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Overhead view of an English duck pie

English Duck Pie

Not exactly a confit or a rillette, but this sturdy meat pie will last 10 days in the fridge. It’s so solid you can  bring it to the duck blind.

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fromage du tete recipe

Fromage de Tete

A French version of headcheese, made from a wild pig’s head. This is a pretty easy version to make, and can also be done with the heads of deer, goats and lamb.

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Coppa di testa ready to slice.

Italian Head Cheese

This is the Italian version of headcheese, stuffed in a casing. I make this with wild boar, but you could also make it with any animal; a young deer is a good alternative.

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