Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Since our time here in Barcelona is coming to an end, I am trying to use up every last thing in our pantry, refrigerator and, in this case, freezer. That’s where this duck leg comes in. The last time I made duck it was duck confit. Like any properly made confit, it was incredibly tender and flavorful, but a bit too rich for me. In fact, I think I prefer a confit of chicken leg instead. The natural high fat in the duck plus all the oil you need for this cooking process was too heavy for my taste. This ragu is much lighter, as far as duck is concerned, but none of the flavor is sacrificed. This is also an impressive, yet inexpensive dish you can amaze your friends with. I only used 1 duck leg and half a box of pasta and that was enough for three servings. Finally, don’t stop with penne, this ragu would be a fabulous filling for ravioli, cannelloni or even lasagna!

1 duck leg, skin removed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 c red wine
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 pinch each dried rosemary and thyme
1/2 L low or no sodium chicken stock/broth
1/2 c flour for dredging
2 tbs olive oil
Salt/pepper, to taste
1 large handful arugula
200g penne (a little less than half a box), cooked

Heat an oven safe pot, large enough so that the duck can lie flat, over med heat. Dredge the duck in the flour and sear in the olive oil until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the duck and set aside. Add all the vegetables except the garlic and sauté, adding a bit more oil if necessary, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs and stir to combine. Add the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Return the duck to the pan, add the chicken broth or stock, bring to a boil and bake uncovered for 1 ½ hours. The liquid will reduce by about ¾ into a rich sauce. Flip the duck over, cover and cook for another 30 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone, shred or chop and return to the pot, discarding the bone. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this point you can use immediately or store for up to 3 days.

To assemble the dish cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box in heavily salted water. When cooking pasta the water should be as salty as ocean water. Simmer the ragu over low heat. When the pasta is ready, drain, add to the ragu and stir to combine. Remove from heat, add the arugula and incorporate. The residual heat should be enough to wilt the arugula. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and parmegiano reggiano if you’d like.

NOTE: If you want to make home-made ravioli the easy way, buy wonton wrappers at your local Asian market and defrost. Place a bit of the filling, (should be very finely chopped and cooled completely in the refrigerator) in the middle, brush the edges with an egg wash and fold to make a triangle shape. For a large square shape, place another wonton wrapper on top. Keep in the refrigerator for 1 day or freeze flat on a tray. When you are ready to cook them do so in a wide but short pan. Do not crowd the pan or allow the water to boil vigorously as this could break the raviolis. Cook them for about 1 minute or until heated through. Top with a few arugula leaves, extra virgin olive oil and parmegiano reggiano.


  1. This sounds great, and I have all the ingredients in my kitchen right now except the duck! I'm wishing I could have this for dinner.

  2. Los platos que expones sacan muy, muy buena cara.... Uuuuummmm.

    Un saludo