Duck Ragu

An aromatic duck ragù perfumed with orange, red wine, cinnamon and nutmeg. This delicious, rich meat sauce is a wonderful alternative to a traditional Bolognese. Serve it Bolognese-style with pappardelle or use it as a base for a tasty lasagna.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Meat


  • 4 duck legs
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps double concentrated tomato purée
  • 300 ml red wine
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 2 x 400 g can of good-quality whole peeled plum tomatoes, hand-crushed
  • 250 ml good-quality chicken stock
  • 2 dried bay leaves


  1. Pat the duck legs dry with kitchen towel and season generously with salt and black on both sides.
  2. Working in batches, place the duck legs skin-side down in a cold Dutch oven or large saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until nicely browned, then flip and brown on the other side. This should take around 5 minutes per side. Once browned, transfer the duck legs to a plate.
  3. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the rendered duck fat and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until nice and soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, rosemary and sage and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then, add the tomato purée and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to darken, 2 to 4 mins.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the red wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is almost all reduced.
  6. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest and juice, tinned tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaves and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Return the duck legs (and their juices) to the pot and bring everything to a simmer.
  7. Simmer over a low heat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the duck is tender. Alternatively, cover and bake the ragu at 160℃/ fan 140℃ for the same amount of time, or until tender.
  8. Using tongs, carefully transfer the duck legs to a large bowl (they will be very tender); let sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, skim off any excess fat from the surface of the ragù using a large spoon or ladle.
  10. Remove and discard the duck skin. Coarsely shred the meat using 2 forks (or your hands). Return the shredded duck to the sauce. If needed, simmer the ragù uncovered over medium-low heat to thicken, anywhere from 10 to 30 mins.
  11. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Serve Bolognese-style with tagliatelle or pappardelle or use it as a base for a delicious lasagna.

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Matthew Day
11 months ago

Hi, which pasta shape are you using in the image for this dish please?

11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Day

Hi! I used paccheri 🙂