I was determined to use up the forgotten goodies lurking at the bottom of my freezer, but then a couple of juicy duck legs winked at me in the supermarket. Before I knew it, they’d landed in my trolley, and my Saturday evening fate was sealed. This recipe freezes particularly well, so I cooked the two duck legs in this Ragu for dinner, and have enough to freeze for one of my ”can’t cook, won’t cook” evenings.

This is a very satisfying pasta dish, and the duck gives it a slightly ‘special occasion’ feel.


  • A large, deep stove top saucepan or casserole
  • a baking tray

INGREDIENTS: this recipe feeds 4 people very generously

  • 2 duck legs, dried, rubbed with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a sprig of rosemary – very finely chopped
  • a level teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 level teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 level dessert spoon of plain flour
  • 1 chicken stock cube, made up to 250mls with boiling water
  • good sized glass of red wine
  • 2 tins of tomatoes (or one tin, and a jar of Passata)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of sun-dried tomato paste
  • pasta, (usually pappardelle or linguine) to serve


  • dry the duck legs, rub them with a little olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt


  • heat the pan until it’s hot, add the duck and let it seal and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes)


  • Transfer duck to a baking tray and put it into the oven for 50 minutes at 180 degrees

Then make the sauce:

  • In the same pan, pour away most of the rendered fat from the duck legs, then add the chopped onions, celery and garlic, reduce the heat and let them soften, but not colour – about 10 minutes.
  • Add the plain flour and cinnamon powder, and mix in.


  • Increase the heat, then add the stock and red wine, and allow to reduce a little.
  • Add the tomatoes, passata, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves.


  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and leave the sauce simmering gently.


  • When then 50 minutes are up,  remove the duck legs from the oven, and place them on a chopping board to cool a little.


  • Using a couple of forks, shred the meat off the bones – you can choose whether you want to put the crispy skin into the dish or discard it –


  • Fold the meat into the tomato sauce. Remove the bay leaves.
  • You can freeze it at this stage, or cool it for use later – like most pasta sauces, it will certainly taste even better tomorrow – or simply eat it now.



  • Serve with your chosen pasta, a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan and  some tasty garlic or warmed crusty bread



I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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