Flying Duck

I’m never sure if a dish qualifies as ‘local’ if it has to be transported more than 200 miles after it has been cooked. But I wanted to make a somewhat local Christmas Eve dinner for my sister and her husband. I thought duck ragu might fit the bill as it would be easy to carry. I went to the Union Square Greenmarket to buy a couple duck legs but found that the farmer was out of legs and had only an entire duck. Because I was covered with sleet and didn’t want to hike to another market, I bought it and carved it up at home. Ragu is a great dish because it requires the less expensive parts of the duck (thighs and legs) and also because it allows you to roast the rest of the duck separately as we did a few nights ago using the following recipe:

Salt and pepper the duck and then poke holes in the flesh with a fork.
Place in a frying pan with about an inch of water
Steam/boil the duck for about 30 minutes to render out most of the fat

Preheat the oven to 400
Mix 2 Tbs Jam and 2 Tbs water in a small dish and drizzle over duck
Roast Duck for about 20 minutes or until skin is dark and crispy

For the Ragu:

Take the skin and fat off the legs and thighs
Brown in a tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes per side
While the duck is browning, chop up whatever winter veggies you can find at the market
I used parsnips and carrots but turnips would be delicious as well
Toss in veggies and brown for 5 minutes
Pour in a cup each of stock and red wine along with a couple cloves of garlic and a small can of chopped tomatoes
Cover and simmer for an hour
Remove legs, cool and remove meat
Shred the meat with a fork and add back into sauce
Cover and simmer for two or more hours

This is where you need to trust your palate. Taste the ragu and see if it needs salt or pepper. It might need more wine if it’s dry or even some olive oil if it doesn’t taste rich enough to you. Have fun.

I froze this ragu in a freezer bag and checked it onto my flight to Boston. To serve, I cooked about a pound of fresh egg pasta from the market for about 3 minutes while I warmed the sauce. I tossed the pasta with the sauce and shredded a tiny bit of parmesan cheese over the top.

This is really good. I realize it’s not quick or even that easy but it does serve 4 plus the 2-4 that the roast duck served before. I also have the carcass in the freezer and will probably make a ginger and scallion soup with it. Maybe with tofu. We’ll see. Recipe to follow as well as some early New Year’s Even dinner plans.

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