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EAT: Luke and Angela’s Hearty Duck Ragu ‘Bolognese’

08 February 2021

As the seasons change, we all crave hearty rich flavours to keep us warm on winter nights with a good glass of wine. At HH&Co we like to use the best seasonal produce we can get our hands on – all inspired by Italian roots of course. Think mushrooms, root veggies, delicate truffles, and locally sourced game.

Bring a slice of HH&Co home with our Duck Ragu Bolognese recipe, this is how we like to make our bolognese and we tend to use Duck in the autumn/winter, but beef is just as good! Making your own bolognese from scratch is miles better than using sauce from a jar, the flavours are intensely fresh and it's loads better for you.

We like to pair this with a glass or two of Nesso: a red wine made with 100% Sangiovese, the primary grape of central Italy. This award-winning wine is produced by a family-run vineyard in the heart of Umbria, Cantina Goccia. Nesso is matured for 2 years in a mixture of new, 2nd and 3rd use French oak barriques. Cantina Goccia aim to produce modern Italian wines in small quantities, extraordinary wines whose character strongly represent their Umbrian roots – the family also very kindly supported our  50 #treatourNHS dinner winners with a bottle of Nesso!

We like to pair this dish with our homemade Gnocchi, it goes perfectly!  Why not try making your own Gnocchi with our recipe here.

What You Need…(serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp of Olive oil
  • 2 Celery sticks, finely diced
  • Large Carrot, finely diced
  • Large onion, finely chopped
  • Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Bay Leaf
  • Sprig thyme or Rosemary
  • 300g coarsely minced duck leg meat (your butcher should be kind enough to do this if you don’t have a mincer)
  • 100g Pancetta or lardo - diced
  • 3 tbsp of Tomato puree
  • 150ml Full bodied red wine
  • 25ml Agro-Dulce red wine vinegar (Forvm brand cabernet sauvignon is perfect)
  • 300-500ml Good brown chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of freshly grated parmesan to serve


What You Do…

Heat the olive oil over a low heat in a heavy-based pan. When hot, add the pancetta / lardo and fry gently until the fat renders, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Reduce the heat and add the finely diced onion, celery & carrot.

Soften gently in the rendered fat until soft, sticky, and translucent but without colour.  This will take a good 20-30 minutes of slow sweating. Don’t rush this stage!

Add the duck when ready and turn up the heat in order to fry the meat.

Colour the meat nicely, stirring regularly

Add the tomato puree and cook out for 2-3 minutes.

Deglaze with the vinegar, then add the wine.

Turn up the heat a little and allow the wine to bubble and reduce until almost evaporated.  This will ensure the richness of the wine remains but none of the astringency of the alcohol.

Pour in the chicken stock, bay leaves & herbs and stir well. Cover with a cartouche (a circle of baking parchment) and reduce to a very gentle simmer. A good Bolognese should cook for at least 3 hours over a very low heat but check it every hour and give it a stir. If necessary, add a touch of water or stock so it does not dry out. When properly cooked, it should have formed a lovely thick sauce.

Adjust the seasoning if necessary and finish with freshly chopped parsley or basil, finally enjoy!


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