Ragu, a classic Northern Italian dish, is a thick hearty sauce made with red wine, tomatoes, aromatic vegetables, and, most importantly, meat, usually beef and pork. This version is made with flavorful, tender duck legs, a delicious twist that will bring raves from your dinner guests. Serve it ladled over a hearty pasta like pappardelle, or over garlicky mashed potatoes for a terrific chilly-weather meal.
4 whole duck legs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry red wine
1 28-ounce can tomatoes
2 teaspoons Glace de Canard Gold® dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Season the duck legs generously with salt and pepper. Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the vegetable oil and brown the duck legs on both sides (skin side first) about 10 minutes total. Remove the duck legs, set them aside, and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the bay leaf and the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices and the diluted Glace de Canard Gold®. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then return the duck legs to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the duck legs are very tender.
Remove the duck legs from the pot and set them aside until they are cool enough to handle. Skim as much fat as possible from the braising liquid.
When the duck legs have cooled a bit, remove the bones and skin and shred the meat, then stir the meat into the braising liquid. Bring the ragu to a simmer over medium-low heat, add the sage, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few mintues, then serve ladled over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Wine Pairing: Sangiovese, Zinfandel