Duck ragù

Duck ragù

Sugo di ‘nana’

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Nana is Tuscan for ‘duck’, hence the Italian name for the sauce. Historically, many families in Tuscany who had a garden would have had ducks, therefore it was simple to cook one for lunch. Ducks are roasted, cooked in sauce or, in this case, used to make the famous Tuscan duck ragù. We use legs because they are cheaper than the breasts and have more flavour. You can use the whole duck, jointed, but since you have to pick the meat from the bones it is easier to do this with the legs. This type of sauce is typically served with fresh pasta such as tagliatelle or maltagliati – the misshapen pieces – or the potato-filled Ravioli di Mugello, and is not normally served with cheese.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large duck legs
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
4 bay leaves
200g Fresh tomato passata, tinned tomatoes
300ml red wine
400-700ml Poached chicken & chicken stock
or Vegetable stock
or hot water

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Fresh pasta
Ravioli stuffed with potato & cheese

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat until hot, then lay the duck legs skin side down in the pan. Season generously. Leave to brown for about 10 minutes or until the skin is golden and crisp, then turn them over to brown on the other side. Now, season this side of the legs. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and the bay leaves. Stir through then tuck the bay leaves under the duck. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile blend the tinned tomatoes (if using instead of passata) in a food processor or push them through a sieve into a bowl. Add the wine to the duck pan and allow it to bubble and evaporate for a few minutes, and for the strong smell of alcohol to diminish, then add the tomatoes and 400 ml of the stock or water. Bring to the boil, remove the bay leaves and taste the sauce. Add seasoning to taste and loosely cover the pan with a lid. Leave to cook over a low heat for around 1 hour or until the meat falls off the bones easily (push a knife into the meat to see how soft it is). You may need to add the remaining stock if it looks a little dry. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. When the legs are cool enough to touch, remove them from the pan and pull off the meat and skin. Discard the bones and skin. Roughly chop the meat with a large knife, then put it back into the pan and stir through. If eating straight away, heat through and mix with cooked and drained pasta in the pan and serve. Otherwise, chill and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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