Duck Ragu

Duck Ragu - A Cookbook Collection

My Kitchen Rules is one of my favourite TV shows. I do watch a lot of cookery shows but I feel mildly bereft when a season of MKR comes comes to an end! In one of the earlier series, Sammy and Bella make a Duck Ragu served with fresh pappardelle and the judges loved it. So I marked that as a dish I wanted to try to recreate at home. (I have a list of dishes, it’s growing faster than I can cook them!)

This is a delicious slow cooked meat sauce, perfect for the cold winter months when served with a robust pasta. When I first made it I served with pappardelle but when I made it the second time I only had tagliatelle in the cupboard so that’s what you’re seeing here.

– You can buy confit duck legs in delis or Lidl occasionally have them. Shred them and add to the sauce if you like but I think you get more flavour when the duck is actually cooked in the sauce.

– I have taken the cooked veggies and bits and pieces out of the sauce before serving. Their flavour is all there in the sauce so I think it’s ok to take them out but by all means leave them in if you wish. Make sure to take out the bay leaves and cinnamon stick though.

– Redcurrant jelly should be easily available in a supermarket. It is worth seeking out as I always have a pot in the fridge and add it to red wine sauces regularly. It adds a little sweetness and really lifts the dish. If you can’t find it cranberry jelly would also work. Make sure it’s a jelly as opposed to a jam as it has a smoother texture.

– As with all of these style of sauces it freezes well and it is actually nicer the day after.


Serving suggestion just so you can get a good look at the sauce but really, it is best stirred through the pasta so that the sauce clings to it.


Serves 4


  • 4 duck legs
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • A small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 150g diced pancetta or smoked bacon
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 400g pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
  • Fresh parsley and parmesan to serve



  • Start by marinating the duck. Make a few cuts into the skin of the duck to allow the marinade into the meat. Put the legs into a bowl with the wine, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cover with clingfilm and allow to marinade in the fridge for 4-6 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook the ragu, remove the duck legs from the marinade but keep the marinade. Heat a large pot or casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Make sure the pot is large enough to take the four legs comfortably.
  • Shake off the excess marinade from the duck so that they are dry. Brown them in the pot turning regularly so that they are brown all over. You may need to to this in batches. Keep the browned legs on a plate and remove all but a tablespoon of the fat from the pot and discard.
  • Cook the pancetta or bacon in the pot until it is crispy. Add the tomato puree and cook for another minute.
  • Pour the marinade into the pot and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, oregano and the duck legs back to the pot. Again, bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for 2 – 2½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the duck is coming away from the bone.
  • When the duck is cooked, remove it from the pot. Strain the remaining sauce to remove the veg, cinnamon and herbs and put the strained sauce back onto the heat. Over a medium heat and uncovered, allow the sauce to reduce until it has thickened.
  • Add the redcurrent jelly to the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the sauce is reducing, remove the skin and excess fat from the duck. With two forks shred the meat and add it back to the pot with the reduced sauce. Allow it to warm through.
  • Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions. When ready to serve, drain the pasta keeping about 150ml of the cooking water (this helps the sauce adhere to the pasta properly).
  • Pour the pasta and its cooking water into the duck ragu and stir until fully combined. Serve with some fresh parsley and parmesan shavings.
  • Enjoy with a fresh green salad and a nice glass of red!

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