Melburnians are constantly talking about the weather. Despite the fact that its fickleness has been known for ages (a certain Crowded House song comes to mind here), it never ceases to be a popular topic of conversation.
Having said that, I am about to talk about the weather (sorry, non-Melbourne people!). This spring has been an erratic one, alternating bursts of heat with winter-like gloomy days of thunderstorms and hail. From a culinary point of view this isn’t the worst thing though as it provides the opportunity to enjoy fresh, summery salads as well as the comfort food associated with the cooler months.
I made this slow cooked duck ragout back in winter and never got around to posting it. I thought I might have to save it for next year but thankfully the chilly weather has given me the perfect chance to share it with you. This is quite a forgiving recipe so if you’ve never cooked duck before, this is a good place to start.
You will need:
- 4 duck marylands*
- 1/2 cup flour (for coating)
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups (375mL) vegetable stock
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- chopped parsley and grated parmesan, to serve
*If you’re in Melbourne, these are available from the South Melbourne markets. If you can’t find them you can substitute duck breasts (skin on), chicken marylands or lamb shanks.
Place the flour in a large bowl. Dip a duck leg into the flour and turn to coat evenly. Repeat for remaining legs.
Heat a little oil in the base of a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Sear the duck legs on medium-high heat until browned all over. Do this in batches if they don’t all fit in the pot at once. Remove duck and set aside.
Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic to the pot. Sautee the vegetables until the onions are translucent and aromatic. Add red wine and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the rosemary, bay leaf, stock and tomatoes. Cook on low heat for 8 hours (if using a slow cooker) or 40 minutes (if using a pressure cooker).
Remove the duck from the braising liquid and set aside to cool. Turn the heat up again and simmer the sauce to reduce and thicken as desired, skimming away any excess fat that rises to the surface. Taste and add a little salt or sugar as required. If you want a smooth sauce you can blend it, otherwise leave as is.
Remove skin and bones from duck and discard. Shred the remaining meat and add it back to the sauce.
Top with parsley and parmesan and serve with fresh pasta or crusty bread. I had mine with peas and homemade gnocchi.