A deeply flavoured dish which is surprisingly light – duck legs are simmered in a tomato and red wine based sauce spiked with fresh herbs and a little star anise.
Whilst this ragu would be delicious served on its own, it really shines when paired with top quality pappardelle – the slight bite of the pasta adding contrast of texture.
Duck Ragu with Pappardelle
For the Ragu: 4 Duck Legs (Trimmed), 100g Smoked Bacon (Chopped), 2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed), 2 Onions (Chopped), 1 Celery Stick (Chopped), 2 Small Carrots (Chopped), 1 Bay Leaf, 1 Star Anise, 2tbsp Tomato Purée, 2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes, 200ml Red Wine, 2 Thyme Sprigs, 500ml Chicken Stock, Sea Salt, Black Pepper
To Finish: 250g Pappardelle, Large Handful Chopped Parsley, Shaved Parmesan, Black Pepper
1) Place a large casserole dish on the stove top. Add the duck legs (skin side down) and fry over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the fat has rendered. Turn and fry for a further 5 minutes. Remove the duck and set aside. Add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden. Next add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic and fry for 10 minutes or until tender.
2) Turn the heat up high and add the red wine – allow to reduce by half. Add the tomato purée and cook for 5 minutes, stirring well. Add the star anise, bay leaf, chopped tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a slight simmer. Season with pepper and a little salt. Place the duck legs in the stock and simmer low for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the duck is pulling from the bone.
3) Once ready, remove the duck legs from the sauce – keeping the sauce simmering. Shred the duck legs into large pieces, discarding the bones, and return to the sauce. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle. Add the chopped parsley to the sauce and check the seasoning – fold to combine.
4) When cooked, drain the pappardelle into a large saucepan over a low heat and add the ragu – folding carefully to combine. Serve with shaved parmesan and a good crack of black pepper.