Today I… am cooking Venetian Duck Ragu in my slow cooker ( crockpot).
Inspired by a recipe in the BBC Good Food magazine, I have adapted it for the slow cooker- only time will tell if it is a success! Looking forward to this evening…
I have just looked at some other recipes on the net, some add grated orange zest, some add chopped chicken livers, if I make this again, I might try some of these additions.
I have in the past made Delia Smith’s slow cooked authentic meat ragu which has pork, beef, pancetta and chicken livers and is out of this world. I used to make ragu all the time when my kids were younger, (my son Richard loved it) but just realised I haven’t made it for about 10 years- next week’s project- sorted!
Here’s the recipe:
Venetian Duck Ragu ( slow cooker version) Serves 6
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 duck legs
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp plain flour ( I used more flour than the original recipe because sauce does not reduce in a slow cooker) This may need tweaking *
- 250ml red wine
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 chicken stock cube made up to 250ml stock
- 3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped or 2 tsp dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- Pasta to serve
Switch on slow cooker (highest setting) to heat up. Add tomatoes, celery, wine, hot stock, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary, bay leaf and sugar. Put the lid on while the sauce heats up.
Heat oil in large pan and brown duck legs on both sides- about 5 to 10 minutes. You may have to do this in batches. When brown, tuck them into the sauce which should be quite hot by now.
Gently fry the chopped onion in the duck fat/oil left in the pan until soft but not brown, stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Add this to the sauce and stir in. Replace lid and leave on high until it is bubbling. Turn down to low setting and leave it to cook all day.
About an hour before you want to eat, carefully remove the duck legs to a plate and pull off the tender meat. Discard the fat and bones, shred the meat with 2 forks and return it to the sauce with the milk. Continue to cook on low until ready to serve.
NOTE: If the sauce is too runny, I plan to take some out (before I put the meat back in) and reduce it in a saucepan before returning to the slow cooker.
Cook the pasta and drain, reserving a cup of cooking water. Add the pasta to the ragu, stir to coat and loosen with pasta water if needed.
I am using fresh lasagne cut into wide ribbons, like pappardelle but I saw a recipe where the pasta was torn into rough squares and layered with the ragu like a free-form lasagne. Beautiful.
Serve with grated parmesan and a glass (or two) of red wine. I plan to scoff mine in front of the TV watching ‘The Voice’.
I will, of course, post a photo of the finished result. Buon appetito!
* Not to be confused with twerking