A serious bowl of comfort food right here! My simple duck ragu, using shop-bought confit duck, is ready and on the table in no time. The kitchen is smelling amazing, and the family have to be held back with force to now attack it before I have taken some pics 😉
Why I Love This Recipe
I'm a huge duck fan, but we generally tend to eat it more on special occasions or when having people round for dinner when you want to impress. I've thrown a spanner in that with this simple-to-make and easier-to-eat duck ragu dish. Here is why I LOVE this recipe!
- quicker than your average ragu or slow-cooked meal
- layers of flavour
- perfect for any occasion
- it tastes bloody good!
- perfect for the family
How To Cook Duck Ragu
People often get scared when they think of making ragu or slow-cooked recipes. Truth is, once the prep work is done, the rest does itself. Once everything is in the pot, and you have stuck it in the oven or slow cooker (if that's your equipment of choice) then you can pull up a seat, read a book or, like most parents, get stuck into other household chores!
This duck ragu starts like most other ragus, and that's with onion, celery & carrots. This helps not only bulk up your duck ragu but adds layers of flavour and gets the kids eating more veggies too 😉
Next, we add tomato paste and cook that for a minute
Then simply add the shredded duck and red wine and cook for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol.
Finally, the tinned tomatoes, stock & herbs/spices and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes until a thick gravy-like consistency.
And it's as easy as that! All we need is some pasta and a little orange oil to drizzle on top!
If you have read other recipes of mine, you will know and have seen I'm a fan of a little oil or dressing on top of my pasta. Pasta can be rich and heavy; I like adding fresh herbs and citrus notes to cut through this.
I've topped this duck ragu with a simple orange gremolata. Now, it's not a gremolata to the purists as there is no garlic, but sometimes you need to simplify or modify things a little - don't you?
All you need is some flatleaf parsley, an orange, and quality olive oil. Give the pasta a rough chop, add equal parts oil/orange juice, and drizzle it all over your duck ragu. We all know duck and orange work wonderfully together!
Georges Folly Winery
I simply love the story of how these guys started their winery - luckily, I like the wines better, so am happy to pop a bottle and recommend them too!
It started with the decision that a "lifestyle" property was going to be purchased so the family would have space, the kids could grow up being more outdoor etc. - you know, the thing we all dream of. Well, little did the family know that soon enough, they would have 88 acres of farmland!!
The farm produces a lot of grapes sold to other wineries but George decided he wanted to graft, grow and produce a number of good wines that he and others would enjoy. I can certainly say he has succeeded, and I am yet to taste a bad drop. All very reasonably priced too, which makes them all the better 😉
If you haven't already guessed, we are pairing this delicious duck ragu with another beaut from Georges Folly. Today and a few other days this year, I have enjoyed the "Pigs Might Fly" Nero d'Avola/Montepulciano blend. A phrase we all know from when we don't expect something to ever happen! This phrase floated when George informed everyone about his vineyard purchase!
Luckily for you and I that he did or this tasty drop would never have crossed our lips. The first thing that comes to mind after a few sips is just how easy drinking this is. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty going on, but boy, this bottle didn't stand a chance tonight!
The nose offers tons of fruits - cherries & blackberries with notes of tobacco, cocoa and a little meatiness. Once I have slowed myself down to write a few notes on it, the palate offers similar characteristics with the right amount of tannins coating my mouth, maybe a little cherry cola flavour too. They suggest slightly chilled for summertime BBQs or in front of a fire which I am leaning towards given its winter.
Whatever you do, however you drink it - it's a cracker!
Alternative Duck Dishes
Inspired by my duck ragu and feel you need more duck dishes in your life? Check out these other recipes of mine below.
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!!
- 4 confit duck legs
- 2 carrots
- 1 celery stick
- 1 red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 star anise
- 250 ml red wine
- 400 g crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 300 ml chicken stock
Homemade Pasta (if making)
- 300 g 00 flour
- 3 eggs
- 30 ml olive oil
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful parsley
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- Chef Knives
- Chopping board
- kitchen aid/pasta maker (if making fresh)
- measuring/weighing utensils
- heavy bottomed saucepan/casserole dish
- wooden spoon/spatula
- mixing bowl
- Add ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer
- Using the beater attachment, beat on low speed until well combined
- Swap to the dough hook and knead on low speed for 3-4 minutes
- Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead for a further minute until a smooth ball is formed
- Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 15mins (shred the chicken and make the pesto)
- Once rested, divide into 4 pieces and flatten out using your hand
- Using the pasta attachment on your stand mixer put the pasta through on setting 1 a few times, folding it back on itself so that you have an even sized piece
- Once it is smooth and even then put it through settings 2, 3 & 4 until long and smooth – remember to add flour as necessary
- Swap to the fettucine or spaghetti attachment and run the pasta through, toss in flour and repeat the process
- Remove the skin from duck legs and tear meat from the bone. Shred into small pieces
- Dice the vegetables finely
- Cook vegetables in a little olive oil for 3 minutes or until soft
- Add tomato paste and cook for a further minute
- Add duck and red wine and cook for 2-3 minutes to burn off the alcohol
- Add stock, tinned tomatoes & anise. Simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a gravy like consistency
- Chop parsley finely and mix all ingredients together
- this isn’t suitable for freezing as you are using pre-cooked confit duck legs
- make the orange oil as fresh as possible, so it stays a bright vibrant colour