Duck and Duck

For three years in Sudan we only ate the occasional tinned duck confit from Bordeaux for special occasions. Towards the end I discovered a tucked away bird market, sadly the Chinese always got there first and I never managed to get a fresh duck in Sudan… So of course I was very excited to move to Hanoi where ducks are everywhere – well mostly boiled and waiting to be hacked up and added to street noodles…


Below are two recipes a duck ragu involving a whole duck and a recipe for just the legs. The whole duck was from the market while the legs were from Naturally Vietnam which has a stall at the Tay Ho Weekend Market. They run a program raising chickens and ducks humanely and with no added antibiotic/hormones etc.

More yummy recipes and discussions of normal duck legs versus confit legs here:

My old duck confit with dauphinoise potatoes and braised cabbage to follow….

Duck ragu with papardelle

Duck Ragu with home-made pappardelle

Adapted from Jamie Oliver – quite tasty but the thick consistency means it could be used as a lovely pie filling also. Ingredients:

  • 1 whole duck
  • 150g bacon/pancetta
  • 1 orange (quartered)
  • Parmesan
  • Parsley and lemon zest and garlic (garnish)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • Rosemary sprig
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 bottle red wine
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C – season duck with olive oil, salt, and pepper – push orange quarters in cavity and then truss legs and wings. Put in oven for 1.5-2 hrs depending on the size of the duck. Flip over breast/back 2 or 3 times.
  2. Pull off and shred the duck meat – simmer carcass in water with roasted onions/carrots/celery to make stock (2 hours)
  3. For the sauce – fry bacon till crispy – remove – then fry onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in the same pan. Cook till soft and beginning to brown then add the tomatoes followed by the can.  Re-add the bacon and duck plus cinnamon stick. Add red wine and simmer. Add stock when ready to adjust the consistency.  Add a the balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 1hr.
  4. Cook the pasta. Mix with sauce. Garnish with gremolata (finely chopped parsley, garlic, and lemon rind) and grated parmesan.

The cooked duck

Tala and the shredded duck...

Roasted Duck Legs, Parsnip Gratin, and Broccoli A slightly odd combination which doesn’t really make sense together but the gratin and broccoli would be good with other things – particularly the gratin with roast chicken instead of a bread sauce. I hate broccoli so simply steaming them and then tossing them in a balsamic vinaigrette made them incredibly palatable for a loather like me.  The roasted duck legs are adapted from Nigella who sensibly kills two birds with one stone by letting the duck fat that melts off as they cook coat the potatoes.

  • Two duck legs (adapt amount)
  • Nutmeg
  • 4 smallish potatoes
  • 3 parsnips
  • cream/milk
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • parmesan breadcrumbs
  • 1 Broccoli head – chopped into florets
  • Balsamic vinaigrette (garlic mashed, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil)
  1. Cross hatch the skin of the duck legs with a sharp knife – coat with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pan fry the duck legs skin side down for 5-10 mins and allow fat to render.
  2. Place duck legs skin side up along with fat from frying pan in a roasting tray. Arrange potatoes chopped into 1-2 in cubes around the legs – toss in fat – sprinkle with herbs de Provence and salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven at 180 C. Cook for 1.5-2hrs depending on the size of the legs and potatoes.
  3. While the legs roast peel and slice the parsnips into long strips using a mandolin. Par cook in cream/milk mix seasoned with crushed garlic, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 5-10 mins. Layer parsnips in a gratin dish, pour cream/milk over to cover up to 2/3s – discard garlic cloves. Bake with tinfoil on for 20 mins. Take out and cover with breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan. Bake for 10 more mins or so until golden.
  4. Steam the broccoli – dress with balsamic

Roasted duck legs and potatoes