Duck Ragu

Duck Ragu

Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood share their recipe for Duck Ragu, that will keep for three days in the fridge and is suitable for freezing.

Prep time:

Cooking time:

Total time:

Serves: 4

2 large duck legs (thighs and drumsticks)

1 tsp salt

3 tsp olive oil

1 brown onion, coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, cut into a few pieces

1 celery stalk, cut into a few pieces

2 garlic cloves, crushed

150 ml red wine

400 g tinned chopped tomatoes

2 tsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)

3 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped

2 bay leaves

250 ml chicken stock (home-made or low/no salt)

  1. In the bowl of a large food processor, pulse the onion, carrot and celery. Add this soffritto to the oil in the saucepan with the garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to lift any of the ducky bits from the bottom, till the vegetables are soft and sweet.
  2. Return the duck legs to the pan, turn up the temperature to high, pour in the red wine and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the tomatoes and tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves and chicken stock. Cover with a lid left ajar and simmer gently for at least 11/2 hours or until the duck is so tender it's almost falling off the bone. Remove the duck pieces with a slotted spoon and allow to cool on a plate while you finish the sauce. Check the consistency of the sauce - does it have too much liquid? Boil it off a bit. Too thick? Add a bit more stock. Just right? Pat yourself on the back and call in Goldilocks. As soon as the duck is cool enough, shred the meat off the bone, being very careful to find the thin spiky bone that runs along the leg.
  3. You can discard any bits of skin or fat, or you can smoodge them between your fingers and incorporate them into the sauce. It's up to you - though it does add richness to the sauce's texture. Similarly, you can fish out the bay leaves, though they add a nicely rustic air to the dish. Stir the duck meat back into the sauce and taste for seasoning.
  4. Serve, stirred through a fresh, cooked ribbon pasta like pappardelle, with freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

The Dinner Ladies by Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood Photography by Ben Dearnley. £14.99 Murdoch Books

Photographs: Ben Dearnley
Recipes Type: Main Courses

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