Bourbon Goose Rillette

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Rillette is basically a shredded meat spread- it’s a lazy man’s pate. Goose (legs, thighs, or wings) is salted, rinsed, braised, shredded and mixed with some booze and goose fat. Its confit to-go. Like a pate, you can spread it across a good piece of crusty bread, but unlike pate, it still retains some of the texture of the meat. Rich with golden, rendered goose fat and packing some deep umami flavors, it screams for the addition of bright, spicy mustard or a sharp pickle. This is great as a centerpiece for a charcuterie board or as a quick snack straight from the fridge.

Most methods call for covering the meat with salt overnight in a fridge before you braise it. I used an equilibrium brine ratio for the salt, this way you don't have to worry about it getting too salty. Use unsalted stock too- homemade is best. Protip: if you’re short on time, salt the goose legs down, place them in a vacuum bag and compress with your vacuum sealer. Refrigerate for an hour or two instead of overnight.


Bourbon Goose Rillette



6 goose legs and thighs (skin on) (1500g)

2.5% salt (38g)

2.5% sugar (38g)

0.25% instacure #1 (4g)

2 sprigs rosemary

Small clump of thyme

1 quart stock (unsalted)

Splash of bourbon

black pepper, freshly ground, coarse

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Rinse and pat goose legs dry. Mix salt, sugar, instacure and herbs and use the entire mixture to evenly cover goose meat. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours, or vac seal and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

Wipe off excess salt with a paper towel, then place the meat in dutch oven and cover with stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on medium-low for around 4-6 hours until meat is tender enough to shred off the bone with a fork. 

Remove meat from braise and allow it to drain and cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, strain the braise liquid and rendered fat through a fine mesh strainer into a steep sided container. Allow this to cool and use a spoon to separate the cooled fat from the liquid. Reserve both the fat and the braising liquid. 

Shred the meat from the bones, removing all cartilage, skin and stray shot. You can reserve the bones for stock if desired. Place all the shredded meat in a mixing bowl and shred further with your hands (gloves come in handy here). Season with a few pinches of black pepper and a splash or two of bourbon. Add a splash of the reserved braising liquid and continue mixing. Add some of the reserved fat and mix. Keep shredding the meat, rubbing it between your fingers to help break it down, adding a little fat at a time. As you work, the individual fibers that make up the meat will start to feather and the rillette will take on a smooth, spreadable consistency. It’s up to you how smooth you’d like to make your rillette, but you can see in the photos how we left ours with a little texture and a spreadable consistency.

Taste as you go. Add a little extra salt or pepper if you think it needs it. When the rillette is  seasoned to your liking, spoon it into jars, pat it down and top with a little goose fat to form a nice layer on top. Refrigerate without a lid, and once cooled, you can put a lid on it. 

Serve with toast, something pickled, mustard, and any of your favorite charcuterie fixins.

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