LAWRENCE MURPHY: An essential for your French picnic


Friday, 16th June 2017, 1:43 pm
Updated Monday, 19th June 2017, 12:57 pm
Forget pâté and Boursin, this duck dish is an authentic treat for your French picnic
Forget pâté and Boursin, this duck dish is an authentic treat for your French picnic

As a student at catering school I was sent off to France to work in the kitchens of a 16th century chateaux in the Perigord region.

This area is famous for the Lascaux caves where prehistoric paintings can be seen. More importantly, for me, the local cuisine is internationally respected and I learnt some cooking techniques that I still use to this day.

The area’s specialities include black truffles, goose and duck. There has been a decline in the use of foie gras due to the farming methods, but the duck and goose dishes have become more popular.

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A picnic in this beautiful region sitting near one of the many lakes would not be complete without duck rillettes, a baguette and a bottle of Bergerac. To make rillettes properly takes more time than you would expect from a simple-looking dish but is worth the effort.

If you cover the meat with some duck fat it will last at least two weeks in the fridge so you could make a little more than you need.


2 duck legs

Tablespoon sea salt

Tablespoon chopped thyme

Enough duck fat to cover the legs

Teaspoon juniper berries

8 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic

Small bunch thyme


1. Mix the sea salt and chopped thyme together and rub into the duck legs.

2. Put the legs into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.

3. Pre-heat your oven to 150C/gas 3.

4. Put the duck legs into a heavy casserole pan and cover with the duck fat.

5. Add all the other ingredients and bring slowly to a simmer.

6. Put into the oven for three hours until the meat falls from the bone

7. Allow to cool, take the meat from the bone discarding the skin and mash together with a fork.

8. Add two tablespoons of duck fat and a little seasoning if required. Serve with some bread and a simple salad.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit or call 01243 377 914.