Prep 10 minutes
Total 2 hours 30 minutes
US | Metric
Duck Ragu

An indulgent duck ragù made with red wine, orange and cinnamon. 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. 

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


  1. Heat oven to 160℃/ fan 140℃ . Pat dry the duck legs and season generously with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat a splash of extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the duck legs, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides, around 10 minutes. If necessary, brown the duck legs in 2 batches; if you overcrowd the pot, they’ll steam rather than sear. Once browned, transfer duck legs to a plate or shallow bowl. 
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, add the onions and carrots and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until nice and soft, around 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, rosemary and sage and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then, add the ground cinnamon and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the tomato purée and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to darken, 2 to 4 mins.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the red wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is almost all reduced, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Add the orange zest, orange juice, tinned tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaves and stir to combine. Season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Return the duck legs (and their juices) to the pot and bring everything to a simmer. 
  8. Cover and bake at 160℃/ fan 140℃ until the duck legs are nice and tender, around 2 hours.
  9. Using tongs, carefully transfer the duck legs to a large bowl (they will be very tender); let sit for 10 minutes. 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. 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. 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.

Passionate home-chef, food enthusiast and recipe creator, based in London. Creating healthy, delicious dishes, outrageously indulgent treats and everything in between!

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