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David Lissner
for restaurants

Eat this! Dodine, haute cuisine for the holiday table


Waterleaf's duckdodine.

What it is: An elegant dish out of French haute cuisine, a dodine is boneless meat, usually duck or a game bird, stuffed, and poached or braised. Sometimes the boneless meat is reshaped to look like a whole bird; more often it’s ground and formed into a loaf shape inside the poultry skin. It’s typically served chilled with its jellied juices.

Another word for this dish is “galantine.” Both terms usually refer to poultry, but are sometimes applied to meat or fish treated in the same way. A similar dish, the “ballotine,” is roasted and served either hot or cold. You can think of them all as dressy variations on meatloaf.

Where it comes from: The term “dodine” is French, and quite old, but it seems to have changed its meaning along the way.


Jean-Louis Clerc

In the 14th-century French cookbook “Le Viandier,” a “dodine” referred to a gravy made with duck drippings. However, the term also meant a heavy, lidded earthenware casserole of the type usually called a “terrine” today. In 1900, the celebrated chef Auguste Escoffier used “dodine” for a casserole of duck in a sauce of red wine, cognac and duck livers with a ragout of truffles, mushrooms, braised cockscombs and cock kidneys fried in butter.

What to do with it: Plan ahead for this recipe, which requires several days of resting in the refrigerator to develop the best flavor. Serve the dodine in thin slices.

Chef Jean-Louis Clerc of Waterleaf in Glen Ellyn, whose dodine is pictured above, says, “Enjoy with croutons, cornichon, the jelly from the cooking of the duck, a little bouquet of salad and walnut vinaigrette.”

Waterleaf’s duck dodine
Country duck terrine with foie gras and pistachios served in its own skin
Chef Jean-Louis Clerc

1 whole duck (about 5-1/2 pounds)
1 pound pork shoulder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cognac and port wine to taste
Chicken stock
2 ounces shelled hazelnuts, toasted
2 ounces shelled pistachios, toasted
5 ounces cooked foie gras
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

Debone the duck and remove the meat from the skin without making any holes; keep the skin in ice water for few hours.

Trim the pork shoulder and grind it medium grind through a meat grinder, and do the same with the duck meat removing all the nerves and extra silver skin. If you have the duck with liver, heart and gizzards, pass them through the grinder as well.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, port wine and cognac and mix. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 or 2 hours or overnight if you can. Fold in the pistachios and the hazelnuts.

Remove the duck skin from the water, then dry on a towel and spread open flat. Build a first layer of ground meat, then add the foie gras in the center. Add the rest of the stuffing, and close the skin around the stuffing.

Sew the skin with some kitchen twine. Wrap in cheesecloth or a kitchen towel and secure the towel with some twine around it.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the duck in a dutch oven or deep casserole. Add chicken stock to about 3/4 of the height of the duck, then cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours.

Let cool down in the liquid, remove the duck when cold and let rest in the refrigerater for about 5 days before cutting to allow the flavors to develop.

Strain the liquid from cooking the duck; place in a saucepan and simmer down to about half; add cognac to taste gelatin and some cognac to make the jelly. 14 servings.

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