Monday, 26 March 2012

duck ragu with fettuccine

This dinner we had last night was devine and I will definitely make it again.
I have only cooked with duck twice before so when I saw these duck legs on special at 'Nosh',I thought it was time to cook with them again.
As duck is expensive a ragu is a really good way to make it go as far as it can go.
I bought 4 legs and that easily feed 6-8 people.
You need to start early for this recipe or you could do it in stages.  You could make the sauce in advance and put it in the fridge and just heat it up and cook your pasta when you are ready to eat.  This makes it a good dinner party recipe.

For this recipe I used

  • 4 duck legs
  • 1-2 carrots finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery finely diced
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 leek washed and finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of  red wine
  • 1 can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 500mls of homemade beef stock
  • sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese 
  • parsley
  • 500g dried italian fettuccine 

Start off rendering the fat from the legs by placing them skin side down in a cold pan on medium heat until golden brown.  You only need to cook it on the skin side.
Set them aside to cool.  Once cool remove all of the skin and fat from the legs.
In a heavy based pan add some of the rendered duck fat and add your flavour base of finely diced onions, carrots,celery, leeks and garlic and salt and pepper.  Cook it down gently until well softened and just starting to colour.  It should take about 20 mins.
Next, add the tomato paste, mix it through the veges and cook it out.
Deglaze with the wine, then add the tomatoes and beef stock.
Next, add the duck legs (skin and fat removed) and bring to the boil and then gently simmer uncovered for 2 hours.  Keep an eye on it as you may need to add some water from time to time so it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan.

Take the meat of the bones and add back to the sauce along with the sprig of rosemary and cook for another 20 - 30 minutes to get your sauce right.  Remember taste and tweat to your liking.  The sauce should be rich and luscious and thick and tasty.

Cook the pasta and pour on the duck ragu, finish it off with some finely chopped parsley, parmesan cheese and black pepper.
I  hate to waste anything so the skin and fat that I took off, I fried it until it became golden and crispy like crackling and finely chopped it, and sprinkled it on the top for those who wanted it.

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