This French coarse pâté would be fab with cornichons and toast, or serve it as part of this fancy dish.
For the duck, weigh the duck legs and place them on a non-reactive tray. Sprinkle them with 15g/½oz of salt per kilo and the thyme. Wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, heat a heavy saucepan until warm and add the duck legs and duck fat to cover totally.
Bring the fat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 2½ hours, or until very tender. Carefully remove the legs from the fat and place on a roasting tray, draining off and reserving any excess fat.
Remove the skin from the duck legs and set it aside.
Remove the bone and tendons and discard. Place the meat into a bowl and mash with a fork. Gradually add about half of the duck fat. Add the chopped parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Spoon the meat into small loaf tin ramekins and place in the fridge to set.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Heat a large frying pan until medium hot, then add the duck breast, skin-side down and cook over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the fat has rendered out of the breast. You may need to do the breasts in batches if the pan isn’t large enough.
Turn the heat up and crisp for one minute, before turning over and placing in the oven for 6-8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest, covered and in a warm place, for five minutes.
For the sauce, heat a saucepan, add the red wine and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by half, then add the beef stock and return to the boil.
Reduce the quantity of liquid by half again, then whisk in the butter and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.
For the pickled mushrooms, heat a frying pan, add the olive oil and mushrooms and lightly fry for 1-2 minutes, or until just tender.
Add the white wine vinegar, sugar, peppercorns and a pinch of salt and cook for one minute.
Remove from the heat and set aside to marinate.
For the parsnip and apple purée, place the parsnips, apples and milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Cook for 12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, reserving the milk.
Place the parsnip and apple into a blender with a little of the milk and blend to a fine purée. Add enough milk to make a thick purée. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, cut the rillettes into slices and place on one side of each plate. Spoon some purée onto the other side of the plate. Carve the duck breast into slices and place on top of the purée. Spoon the girolles and sauce around the edge and finish with a scattering of coriander cress.
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