Big effort, but an even bigger reward – this warming duck ragu with pappardelle sticks to your bones and is just as good the second time around. We used the whole Great Ocean Duck and didn't waste a thing, which is the best way to respect the animal. The flesh is in the ragu, the bones make a wonderful stock and the fat is rendered down for the future (hello duck fat potatoes!). We used packet pasta, but you can make fresh if you want to go all in.
600g of packet pappardelle Grated pecorino to serve
1. To make the stock, first remove the duck meat from the bones. Pull each leg out from the bird and slice through the skin to expose the flesh. Twist the legs up and out and cut through the joint. Cut the legs into thighs and drumsticks and cut the meat from the bones. To remove each breast, cut alongside the breastbone and slowly work your way down and across to cut off the meat. Trim the excess skin and fat from all of the meat. Cut the meat into small bite-sized pieces and set aside for the ragu. If this sounds complicated, YouTube is your friend.
2. Place the bones in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover. Add the onion, celery, carrot, star anise and herbs and simmer for 1 hour, skimming off the fat occasionally. At this stage you could render the excess fat and skin in a pot to extract the fat to store for another use.
3. To make the ragu, put the cans of tomato in a colander over a bowl. Pour over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the sugar, and allow the juices to drain into the bowl for around 30 minutes.
4. Heat half the oil and butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until beginning to caramelise. Add the drained tomatoes, parsley, basil, rosemary & thyme. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 1½ hours, adding a little duck stock and drained tomato juice occasionally to keep the sauce runny.
5. Gently heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan and brown the chopped duck. Add to the tomato sauce and simmer for a further 30 minutes, adding more stock and tomato juice as needed. The sauce should be rich and moist.
6. Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted as per packet instructions. Drain the pasta and return to the large pot. Toss through paddles of ragu until all the pasta is evenly coated with sauce* and there is ample duck to go around. Serve with grated pecorino.
You may have enough ragu leftover for a romantic dinner for one, or two.
You will have plenty of stock leftover for another use, perhaps a risotto.
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