This was actually my first time cooking duck at home, and I know it won’t be my last. There’s not much to cooking the duck in this case. Two pounds of duck legs were roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes. You’ll need a roasting pan that can go from oven to stovetop for deglazing. Of course, there’s duck fat that’s rendered as the legs roast, and I greedily poured that into a bowl to save for cooking potatoes at a later date. With the cooked duck and fat removed from the pan, the pan was then set over low heat on top of the stove. A half-cup of red wine was used to deglaze it. While the duck was roasting, onions, carrots, and celery were chopped. Those vegetable along with chopped rosemary, and a few juniper berries were cooked in olive oil in a Dutch oven until very tender. The deglazing wine and any bits from the roasting pan with another cup and a half of red wine were added to the vegetables and left to simmer and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Next, stock and canned chopped tomatoes were added. I used a homemade chicken stock, but duck stock would have been great. As the sauce began to simmer, I pulled the meat from the duck leg bones and shredded it to add to the sauce later. With meat and skin removed from the bones, I added the bones to the sauce. The sauce continued to simmer for another 45 minutes or so. Then, the bones were removed and the shredded meat was added. Fresh pasta cooks quickly, in about a minute or two, and the cooked and drained pappardelle was tossed with a bit of sauce before being plated. It was topped with more sauce and grated parmigiano.
This dish was definitely worth the wait. But, now that I know how easy it is, I won’t be waiting long to make it again. It is a rich and hearty sauce with layers of flavor from the duck and wine. At last, I can stop wondering when I’ll ever make this dish, and instead, I can daydream about how delicious I now know it is.
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