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My favourite and most sentimental dishes – duck ragu.
One year I was given a birthday present I’ll never forget – a cooking lesson from Jamie Oliver. He came over and showed me how to make one of my favourite and most sentimental dishes – duck ragu. His recipe had more of a Moroccan bent with raisins and oranges, and it was magical. Over the years the recipe has become its own thing in my kitchen, but the roasting technique is all Jamie. I think this may just be my favourite recipe in the whole book. The gremolata topping, while optional, takes it to another level.

From Notes From My Kitchen Table by Gywneth Paltrow, published by Boxtree, 6th April 2011, £20 Hardback

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© 2023 Gwyneth Paltrow / Boxtree · Reproduced with permission.
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.

    Trim off excess skin from the opening to the duck’s cavity and from the back end. Rub the entire duck with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, inside and out. Roast it for a total of 2 hours,
    flipping it from its back to its breast (and vice versa) every 1/2 hour. Let it cool in the pan until you can handle it. Drain off the fat and either discard it or reserve for another use, such as roasting potatoes.

    While the duck is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to crisp. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and rosemary, turn the heat down to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomatoes and their juice and put 125ml water into one can, swish it around to get all the tomato stuck to the sides, pour into the next can and repeat again with the third. Add the tomato water to the casserole along with the wine, a good grind of pepper and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down very low and let simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.

    After the duck has cooled down a bit, remove and discard the skin and bones and shred the meat. Fold the duck meat into the ragu along with the tomato purée and cook on very low heat, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 4, adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from drying out
    (continue to season with salt and pepper as you splash).
    To serve, cook the pasta, divide it between bowls, and spoon a generous amount of duck ragu over the pasta. Top with the Gremolata Breadcrumbs or Parmesan.

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