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

An aromatic duck ragù perfumed with orange, red wine, cinnamon and nutmeg. 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. 

  • 6 duck legs
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps double concentrated tomato purée
  • 300 ml red wine
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 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/medium-high heat. Sear the duck legs, turning once, until browned on both sides, around 5 minutes per side. If necessary, brown the duck legs in 2 or 3 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 generously 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 tomato purée and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to darken, 2 to 4 mins.
  5. 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.
  6. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, 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. 
  7. Cover and bake at 160℃/ fan 140℃ until the duck legs are nice and tender, 2 to 2.5 hours.
  8. 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. 
  9. Remove and discard the duck skin. Coarsely shred the meat using 2 forks (or your hands). 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.