I found this lovely recipe in Jamie Oliver’s book, Cook with Jamie, and tweaked it slightly to suit our tastes. The original recipe uses a whole duck and serves four, but I used a duck crown and it will serve three nicely, or two more than generously!
You need to begin the recipe the day before, by slow roasting your duck. I roasted mine at 190oC (375oF / gas mark 5) for two hours, basting every half hour or so, so that the skin gets nice and crispy in the duck juices. You can pour off the duck fat and keep in a bowl in the fridge and use it to make lovely crunchy roast potatoes! Once your duck is cooked and has cooled enough to handle, strip the meat from it and set aside.
For the ragu, using a duck crown and providing two generous serves, I used :
1 medium onion
2 sticks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
3 anchovies (optional)
1 medium sized sprig of rosemary
1 x 450g tin chopped plum tomatoes
½ bottle of red wine
A handful of pine nuts (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
If using a whole duck you might want to use two tins of tomatoes and a whole bottle of wine
Finely chop the onion and celery and sweat gently in 1tb of olive oil. Finely chop the garlic and anchovies and add to the pan (the anchovies will ‘melt’ as they cook and add a meaty richness to the sauce, not a fishy flavour), cook quietly for five minutes or so.
Add the tinned tomatoes and stir in, then add the half bottle of red wine and give it a good stir. Add the cooked duck in chunks, and the pine nuts and bring to a simmer on the hob. Cover with a tight fitting lid (or cover the pan with a square of tin foil before putting your lid on) and simmer quietly in the oven at 160oC (300oF / gas mark 2) for two and a half hours or so. Stir from time to time and break up the chunks of meat towards the end of the cooking time. If your sauce dries up too much during the cooking time (as mine did a little!) simply add either a little hot water and Worcestershire sauce, or beef/chicken stock.
I served mine with pappardelle pasta, but any pasta shape will work. Alternatively you could serve with chunky roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes, cooked in some of the lovely duck fat. A green vegetable, or salad on the side will cut the richness of the sauce somewhat too.
In Jamie’s original recipe you cook the duck on the day that you are making the sauce, shred it with forks and add to the sauce towards the end of the cooking. His cooking time is shorter than mine.