Duck Ragù

We got lots of snow here in New England yesterday, and on top of that, ice.  Thanks to technology though, we knew it was coming.  Thus, I planned to work from home which allows me a little bit more flexibility then working from an office 15.4 miles away (from my kitchen).

I had this recipe that I wanted to tackle, and I was changing it up a bit from the get-go, requiring myself to roast a duck before even beginning the rest of the process.  This snow/work-from-home day was the perfect opportunity.

So I cubed up some aromatics (onion, garlic, celery, carrot, sweet potato, dried chilies, and fresh thyme) threw them in a dish with a little bit of water, and tossed them into the microwave for 2 minutes to really get their juices flowing.  Their next step was into the cavity of the raw duck….

I roasted the duck, stuffed with aromatics, at 350 for a little under two hours.  By the end, my home smelled wonderful: browned skin, fragrant onions & garlic.

Now that the duck was cooked, it was time to take it apart.  After some cooling I cut off the legs and breasts for use in this dish.  The remaining meat, combined with the offal, became Duncan’s lunches for the week.

Next up was creating the ragù.  My version of this recipe includes much more wine than the original called for because a) the sauce needed to be richer and b) it was too dry.  It also uses significantly less butter 😉

The last step was to cook up some pappardelle and add that to the mix.  If you’re buying it off the shelf, in a dried form, might I recommend Bionaturae?  It’s organic, and it tastes great!

I opted to serve this with freshly steamed green beans as there was nothing else green in the dish (unless you count celery- which I don’t).  I also had a loaf of rosemary-potato bread left in the freezer from a baking spree a couple of weeks ago, so I cut that into biscotti-shaped pieces and toasted it up to serve as an accompaniment.

Ingredients:

1 duck

Aromatics of your choosing

olive oil

1/2 cup minced onion

1/4 cup minced carrot

1/4 cup minced celery

1/4 cup chopped mushroom

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 olives, pitted and halved

1/2 tablespoon rosemary leaves

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cup dry red wine

2 cups + 2 T chicken stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 pound pappardelle

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 T flour

Directions

  • Roast the duck, stuffed with aromatics, at 350 for about 2 hours.  Let cool, then trim meat from legs and breasts, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrot, mushroom and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until slightly softened, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the olives, rosemary and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the duck and stir gently to coat with the vegetables. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add 2 C of the stock and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes.  Mix the remaining 2 T of chicken broth with the flour to make a thickening agent.  Whisk the thickener into the ragu.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Cover and keep warm.
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain. Add the pasta to the ragù and cook over moderate heat, stirring gently, until simmering. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

J