Potted Duck

This recipe is from Gordon Ramsay’s book Gordon Ramsay’s Great British Pub Food, published in 2009, even though Amazon claims it’s 1855!

From Gordon Ramsay: “The great British Pub has played an important and unique role in British society, right from Roman times, through the Middle Ages and up to the present day. It is a role that has changed, adapted and evolved as society has dictated, but the pub has always maintained its focus as the place to go – to relax, to celebrate, to mourn, to talk, to drink and, increasingly, to eat.”

I know for a fact that some people go to the pub to NOT talk. I know this because I have a very American habit of talking to everybody near me and I’ve been warmed many times by my daughter (who lived in London for four years and is married to a Brit) that people in pubs want to be left alone. They go to relax after work or de-stress, and they don’t need a crazy woman asking “can pet your dog,” or “what are you drinking?”

Contrary do this daughter’s socially conscience concern, I have gotten into fabulous conversations in pubs – mostly with young people. When in St. Andrews once at a pub, one lad looked very sad, and as a Mum I just had to ask if he was okay. He was not. He and a friend had snuck away from school to road trip through Scotland, and they got everything stolen, including their car. They had to call home and tell the story to the parents. We bought their lunches.

I chose to make the potted duck recipe from this book because I love potted anything and rillettes, which are similar. Plus I could live off of hors d’oeuvres. Another British recipe, potted ham, was such a great discovery, I’ve made it more than once.

Gordon Ramsay adds: “Pistachios help to cut the richness of this tasty spread, as do the accompanying pickled onions and cornichons.”

I doubled the recipe so I had enough for the holidays, and they were a hit on Thanksgiving day.

Potted Duck

2 duck legs, about 300g (10.5 ounces) each
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
Few thyme sprigs
Sea salt and black pepper
300g (10.5 ounces) duck fat, melted
60g (2 ounces) pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

To serve:
Plenty of sourdough bread slices, freshly toasted
Pickled onions

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F).

Put the duck legs, skin side up, into a roasting tin in which they fit snugly and scatter over the garlic, thyme and seasoning. Pour over the duck fat to cover. Roast for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and falls off the bone.

Cool slightly, then lift the duck legs onto a plate, reserving the fat. Shred or finely chop the meat, discarding the skin.

Place the meat in a bowl. Strain the fat through a fine sieve; set aside. Add the pistachios to the duck and toss to mix, moistening with a little duck fat and seasoning generously to taste.

Divide the mixture amount 4 – 6 small jars or ramekins. Press down with the back of a spoon and pour over a thin layer of duck fat to cover. Chill until set.

Take the potted duck out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before serving to soften it slightly, so it can be spread. It’s also smart to remove the fat when it’s chilled. It’s much more difficult when warm. I forgot this.

Serve with warm toast, pickled onions and cornichons.

The flavors of the potted duck are really fabulous, but I didn’t love the texture. A couple of days after I made it, I removed the fat layer on top, and placed the duck into my food processor. I ground the meat just enough to make a spreadable mixture, not to the point of baby food. I preferred that texture over hand-chopped.

By Published On: February 6th, 202439 Comments on Potted Duck

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. angiesrecipes February 6, 2024 at 7:00 AM - Reply

    So yummy! How did you resist from eating them after removing from bone? LOL…so good on the pictures.

    • fatsochef February 6, 2024 at 7:24 AM - Reply

      I hear you!!

    • Chef Mimi February 6, 2024 at 7:32 AM - Reply

      Who says I didn’t?!! Just not all of it….

  2. fatsochef February 6, 2024 at 7:23 AM - Reply

    Mmm.. you had me salivating!! This reminds me very much of a duck rillette . And I can imagine that a more finely minced meat would definitely spread better! Would love to try making it! And I’d probably crisp up the skin to eat instead of chucking it 😄!

    • Chef Mimi February 6, 2024 at 7:33 AM - Reply

      I was surprised at how basically “bland” this was, coming from Gordon Ramsay. But it was good, and I did prefer it like rillettes texture.

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen February 6, 2024 at 7:36 AM - Reply

    This looks beyond delicious Mimi! I love the idea of the pistachios in this as well. It would definitely have absolutely no ‘keeping’ qualities in my house, it’d be gone very quickly.

    • Chef Mimi February 6, 2024 at 9:35 AM - Reply

      Hahahaha! I know what you mean.

  4. Ben | Havocinthekitchen February 6, 2024 at 4:04 PM - Reply

    Oh this looks and sounds splendid! Loving the addition of pistachios, too.

    • Chef Mimi February 7, 2024 at 7:34 AM - Reply

      If you do make it, chop up the duck better, or pulse it in a food processor for a more spreadable texture.

  5. Sherry M February 6, 2024 at 4:26 PM - Reply

    yes the pistachios sound like a great addition.

    • Chef Mimi February 7, 2024 at 7:35 AM - Reply

      It was really a nice combination!

  6. Tandy I Lavender and Lime February 6, 2024 at 9:51 PM - Reply

    I think I would also prefer the less coarse texture. We have met some amazing people in British pubs. And struck up conversations with all and sundry. Those poor kids who had their car stolen!

    • Chef Mimi February 7, 2024 at 7:36 AM - Reply

      I think my daughter was always extra paranoid because I’ll talk to anybody and everybody!

  7. Gerlinde de Broekert February 6, 2024 at 10:37 PM - Reply

    Interesting, I love duck confit and rillettes . I have never heard of potted duck. Mimi, you always find the most interesting recipes.

    • Chef Mimi February 7, 2024 at 7:38 AM - Reply

      Well thanks! After cooking for so many years, I don’t need to try recipes for lasagna and wings! I don’t really seek them out, they just sort of jump out at me!

  8. spicedblog February 7, 2024 at 6:41 AM - Reply

    What an interesting story about meeting that lad in the pub in St. Andrews. How does that actually happen!? Either way, I’ve always said that you can learn so much about a place by their street food/pub food. I can’t say I’ve ever had (or even heard of) potted duck. I need to expand my knowledge of British pub food for sure! Great recipe!

    • Chef Mimi February 7, 2024 at 7:41 AM - Reply

      Pub food at gastropub can’t be beat in my opinion. Thanks to some British chefs trained in France, the whole of British cuisine changed, almost overnight. Thank goodness. I would not have enjoyed the British food of yesteryear. I remember Portman’s, a favorite pub of my daughter’s, that brought up food from the basement on a dumb water. The most gourmet food that you’d expect at a Michelin restaurant. We’ve been to a few of those, and give me the ambiance of a pub any day!!!

  9. David Scott Allen February 7, 2024 at 2:12 PM - Reply

    Love this post, Mimi. You were so sweet to those young men! I think you can tell when someone wants to be left alone and when someone is open to chatting. I love to do what you do. The potted duck looks wonderful. I love that Ramsey adds pistachios to cut the richness. That’s like adding cream to lighten the potatoes! But it sounds divine!

    • Chef Mimi February 7, 2024 at 2:14 PM - Reply

      Yes! This was good, I just didn’t love the texture, as I mentioned. I think my daughter was extra worried about me because I’m extra chatty!

  10. Velva-Evening With A Sandwich February 7, 2024 at 2:19 PM - Reply

    Cheers to making friends wherever you go! I am liking this potted duck. I think it’s a clever appetizer dish that is not served up often enough. The pistachios? Makes the dish even better.

    As always, thanks for sharing with us.

    • Chef Mimi February 8, 2024 at 7:45 AM - Reply

      Thanks Velva! I might talk too much, though. I find people so fascinating. Try this potted duck – it will make you very happy!

  11. Ann Coleman February 7, 2024 at 5:49 PM - Reply

    I’ve often wondered just exactly what potted duck was. And now I know….thank you! And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with chatting to someone in a pub, because you can tell very quickly by their response whether or not someone is interested in having a conversation. If they are, great! If not, no problem, we just leave them alone.

    • Chef Mimi February 8, 2024 at 7:47 AM - Reply

      I think my daughter worries that I think every person who’s alone is lonely, and so I want to talk to them, when they’re just relaxing after work and enjoying a beer. With their dog. Who I want to pet and squeeze!

  12. Healthy World Cuisine February 8, 2024 at 7:14 AM - Reply

    Now that’s a bite of decadence. Rich duck and a glass of red and we are all set.

    • Chef Mimi February 8, 2024 at 7:48 AM - Reply

      You said it!

  13. ingoodflavor February 8, 2024 at 6:03 PM - Reply

    Hahaha!! I love that you’re a conversationalist!! I have not had the pleasure of eating potted duck, but it sounds rich and scrumptious!

    • Chef Mimi February 9, 2024 at 9:38 AM - Reply

      I talk too much. Especially if someone looks sad. I hope that’s not arrogance – like “I’m here to make you happy!”

  14. Anonymous February 9, 2024 at 12:52 AM - Reply

    I’m all about chatting, and think of pubs as social, but good to know folks go to unwind in the quiet, too. (For when I’m next in London, that is.) This recipe sounds fabulous! :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi February 9, 2024 at 9:35 AM - Reply

      Yes, it a good thing to know. There are always groups of friends and co workers, but if someone is alone – don’t bug him! i have a British son-in-law and he concurs!

  15. Pastora February 9, 2024 at 5:23 AM - Reply

    Contrary to popular belief, I think British food is excellent. That potted duck looks delicious. I may give it a try, although it seems a little bit too advanced for my culinary skills. Thanks for sharing the recipe

    • Chef Mimi February 9, 2024 at 9:34 AM - Reply

      British food changed 180 degrees when British chefs trained in France. It’s wonderful food, and the gastropubs are wonderful.

  16. Debra February 9, 2024 at 5:14 PM - Reply

    I have had very little duck in my lifetime, so I cannot quite imagine the flavor, but the whole idea of pub food appeals to me. I’m intrigued. I love to hear about your socializing as I am the complete opposite. Isn’t it funny how different we all are when it comes to enjoying conversation. I guess according to your daughter I would fit right in. 😉

    • Chef Mimi February 9, 2024 at 6:04 PM - Reply

      Yes, you would!!! I’m much less polite!

  17. Frank | Memorie di Angelina February 11, 2024 at 7:33 AM - Reply

    Looks fabulous! Seem quite like a kind of duck rillettes…

    • Chef Mimi February 11, 2024 at 1:33 PM - Reply

      Definitely the same thing – just a British name instead of French!

  18. Raymund February 14, 2024 at 1:40 PM - Reply

    Potted Duck sounds like a delightful addition to any holiday spread, especially with the richness of the duck complemented by the crunch of pistachios and the tanginess of pickled onions and cornichons. It’s wonderful to hear how food can bring people together, even in unexpected places like a pub. Your doubled batch must have been a hit at Thanksgiving!

    • Chef Mimi February 16, 2024 at 7:31 AM - Reply

      I only put one “pot” out at Thanksgiving! My crew is more limited in their tastes than I am. So I have to respect that! But those who ate it did enjoy the duck!

  19. Roz February 27, 2024 at 8:01 AM - Reply

    When we went to British pubs in Scotland, people were quite chatty and we thoroughly enjoyed our conversations. The pub food was delicious too. I agree with a reader who believed that British food is delicious!

    • Chef Mimi February 27, 2024 at 2:39 PM - Reply

      I love the food at gastropubs! The chatty people are already drunk!!!

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