Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Duck Ragu Anyone?


I love to cook, though I often find myself in the slump of cooking the same things over and over again for the family.

I fall victim to that slump whilst making my own lunches as well - I went one month straight making the same smoothie, now I am 2 weeks into having a spinach/avocado/lemon juice salad.

This past Sunday I was dying to do something a little more elaborate, so I turned to my old friend, Jamie Oliver.

I am firmly in the Jamie Camp, and he has yet to steer me wrong.

And I had duck on my mind...

Jamie is nothing if not exuberant; not only were we having a slow-cooked duck pasta, it was going to be gorgeous!




First you must roast the duck...




And whilst the duck is roasting, you are making a ragu of pancetta, carrots, celery, onions, herbs:



Then comes the tomatoes and wine:




Cook your rigatoni, shred the meat from the roasted duck, and toss it all together and bring it to the table:

Do you see the sun?  It was a miracle!

Then sprinkle on a little Parmesan cheese and voila!



My mouth is actually watering this morning thinking about this dish and I am pleased to say that it makes at least 6-8 servings, as we are having this for dinner again tonight.

For those interested, here's the recipe:

Recipe for Gorgeous slow-cooked duck pasta from Cook with Jamie

1 duck (or leftover roast duck)
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper 
1 orange
1 lb pasta (rigatoni or occhi di lupo work well)
2 knobs of butter 
1 large handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving 
a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 
zest and juice of 1 orange 
red wine vinegar
For the sauce:
olive oil 
6 slices of pancetta, finely diced
1 red onion, peeled and finely diced 
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and finely diced 
6 springs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 stick of cinnamon 
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced 
2x14 oz cans of good quality plum tomatoes 
1/2 a 750 ml bottle of fruity red wine (Valpolicella of Barbera works well)
chicken stock 
a handful of raisins 
a large handful of pinenuts
Preheat the oven 350ºF/180C
Stuff a duck with a quartered orange; rub the outside with olive oil, salt, and pepper; and roast, breast-side down in a roasting pan, for two hours, turning every 30 minutes. Let it cool, and pull off all the meat.
Pour some olive oil into a large pot. Fry the diced pancetta until golden. Add red onion, carrots, celery, rosemary, cinnamon stick, and sliced garlic cloves. Cook slowly until it all softens up (about 10 minutes). Add the plum tomatoes and red wine. Let simmer for about an hour. Shred the duck meat and add it to the sauce. Cook for another half hour, adding water or chicken stock if it becomes dry. Remove the cinnamon stick, and add a handful each pine nuts and golden raisins. Continue to simmer while the pasta cooks.
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water. Drain (preserving some of the cooking water).
Toss the pasta into the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in a knob of butter, a handful of grated Parmesan, the zest and juice of 1 orange, chopped parsley, and a splash of red wine vinegar.
Loosen the sauce with the reserved cooking water if necessary. Check seasonings. Served with parmesan.



I continue to work away at the spring cleaning and it is going quite well.

On Saturday afternoon I spent an hour cleaning out and organizing my buffet:

My "extra" plates, neatly stacked.  These are neither my china nor my everyday dishes.  I admit to being a sucker for pretty dishes, especially pretty dishes with birds on them...



Platters and salad bowl waiting for future dinner parties:




And a freshly polished buffet:



I also washed three glass vases of seashells - they get so dusty and I can only be bothered to do them every few months or so.

There is something very soothing to me about a jar of shells - these were collected by me a few summers ago at the beach:



I wish you could have all come to dinner on Sunday night - it was divine!  We had a nice bottle of Valpolicella to wash it all down and I would have gladly poured you a glass!

Have you been cooking anything special lately?  Do tell!

Have a wonderful Tuesday - I am off to get a haircut - I may take a few inches off this time!

Stay safe out there!

xoxo Wendy

35 comments:

  1. That Gorgeous Duck Ragu would be a big hit around here. I'm in a bit of a cooking rut, I've been relying heavily on chicken marsala which is my go-to when I am low on inspiration and time. Thanks for reminding me to open up a Jamie cookbook, his exuberance (and yours!) is catchy!
    Have fun at The Beauty Shop. I cut my hair to shoulder length last month after finally growing out the layers and I like it very much.

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    1. That's so funny - I haven't made chicken marsala in ages! I did make coq au vin on Saturday night which was very good. I do a lot of Mario Batali as I adore Italian food! I am hoping this will help me grow out layers as well! My hairdresser always wants to keep it longer so I can put it up, but I never put it up, so it is a moot point!

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  2. I like your buffet with the photos. I need to put out more pictures. ( As I have said time and time again.) Enjoy your haircut!

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    1. The oainting on the far left was done by my great-grandmother - on the right is a print we bought years ago, with Madame X stuck in the corner. I love pictures everywhere!

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  3. Hi Wendy, that duck ragout does sound gorgeous, and your buffet is gleaming - time well spent! My project this week is to clean the windows inside, including the crud inside the sliders - it's amazing the dirt that collects there.



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    1. That's one of barry's tasks, but he's in luck as its going to rain for a couple of days! Today I am really cleaning all of the ceiling fans!

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  4. Well, we are back on the detox and diet program...having regained everything. Sigh. Your dish looks great. I suddenly have the urge to replace my dishes. Hubs says it's about time since we have had them nearly 25 years. But what to get? Enjoy your time at the salon.

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    1. Hi BB! I always pick up odds and sods and Anthro and at Winners (TJ Maxx) when I see them. My every day dishes are ivory and quite plain and of course I have my mother's wedgewood, but I love a table set with different plates and shapes! I can't even talk about weight - I might sob unbecomingly!

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  5. My goodness, that looks so much work, I bet it was delicious.
    Neither of us really cook per se, we both consider food an utter chore to buy and make. Christmas, Easter, that's about it the only time I'll make an effort. I loathe writing the food list more than any household chore, if I ask hubs he says" Don't know, don't really care" It would be easier if one of us had an interest!

    I do wish someone would come up with a cure for dust, there's too much of it.

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    1. I wish there was a cure for dust too!

      I wish you were nearby so I could feed you and hubs! There are always leftovers here!

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  6. Ohhh that looks delish Wendy and looks like enough to feed a battalion. I may have to darken your door around supper time...I'll even bring my own spoon!

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    1. and I even have some wine leftover for you!

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  7. What a beautiful meal! You will have to show off the new hair. Nothing like a fresh style to usher in spring!

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    1. Thanks Jen - six inches came off. I asked for Ines-like hair!

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  8. I can't tell you how much I admire the self-control of anyone who can even >think of leftover duck. I've been roasting birds for centuries, well, it seems that way, and the most that's been left over has been a small drumstick or wing and even that mysteriously disappears by the time I'm making coffee the following morning. You have really got your household well trained.

    The exception is turkey, and I suspect that's because I hide the gravy and stuffing. I refuse to be the only girl in the world who can't get 2 meals or more from a 15- lb turkey!

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    1. Fred, the truth: Barry left town early Monday morning and son is vegan and Sydney and I have self-control!!!

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    2. That's what I was thinking Fred, there would not be enough duck meat left for dinner if I was doing the pulling off and shredding.

      Oops, now that I've spilled, no one will invite me over for dinner ...

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  9. Actually funnily enough we have some duck in the fridge cooked and its too rare some might we able to whiz this up. Yes - I would love to be able to come to dinner on Sunday night too. Love The Jamie - never lets you down I got the thing from him to put oil and lemon on everything and its aaaaall good! I love the thought of cooking but sadly these days not the actuality!

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    1. I hear you! I also love it when he says glugs of oil and things like that!

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  10. What a great meal Wendy!
    I made a similiar one with beef roast and it was superyummy. The meat fell apart after roasting and was perfect in the sauce.

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  11. Your meal looks delicious. We had Peking duck Sunday night, cooked by a very talented friend. We finally finished off the "bathtub" of soup (the first course) at lunch today.

    So glad to see the sun is shining out your way. I hope you are prepared for all that snow to melt. Get your sump pump ready!

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    1. No sump pump here - hope it all goes in the woods!

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  12. I aspire to always make two day meals-dont you just love it when you remember the leftovers and you get a stay of execution in the kitchen? but then I have never enjoyed cooking-all that work just to eat. I could never be French.

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  13. Wow, that looks delicious! I would love to cook duck more often but our local Loblaws does not stock it on a regular basis. I usually use Nigella's roast duck leg recipe - very simple and very good. You've inspired us to do some spring cleaning! We've been cleaning and organizing all our baking supplies and spice cupboard.

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    1. we buys duck at least every other week at our local Sobeys - so good!

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  14. No fine dining for a while since my husband developed diverticulitis over the weekend. Ouch! Today the GI doctor put him on a low residue diet. It is full of refined white carbs. I instantly realized that there is actually a name for my typical fare. He needs to recoup quickly as I don't think this was the food plan he envisioned for our European vacation next week - especially with Paris on the itinerary. Your dinner looks scrumptious.

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    1. oh hope he gets better soon! I am so excited about your vacation - you will have to fill us all in!

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  15. Love that beautiful bird plate you served the ragu on, and it sounds so delicious! I think that even if Spring is being a little recalcitrant on its appearance in your neck of the woods, it's a great idea to do the cleaning and hopefully force it to make an appearance! I feel like I've been cleaning for the past year, and yet there is always more to purge and more places with dust!! xx

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    1. your house must have been in a continual state of dust - I hate that when we renovate!!!

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  16. I too will be chopping off about six inches of my hair very soon.

    Can I still come over for dinner now that you know how I love to eat? Drooling over your beautiful dish ... I'm afraid you won't have enough for a second meal after.

    Beautiful job on the buffet!

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  17. That looks so good! Now, how do you deal with duck fat? I've only roasted duck once as it nearly ruined my oven so I don't have the right technique. Or maybe you have nice lean ducks?

    Love all your plates! I am a dish addict, too. And a napkin addict. Oh, and dishtowels.

    Hope you are melting? We are melted! And the garlic is up so here we go.

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  18. I am a Jamie fan too!!! I love his cooking. We are a lot on soups and salads lately, most of them vegetarian... I made last week a roasted pears and caramelised pecan nuts salad, which was pretty good. It was accompanied by a maple sirup sauce. I made a variety of soups... And an apple and chick peas salad... And of course different cakes/cookies!

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Kindness is a virtue...