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EXTRA SUPERB Slow Cooked Duck Ragu with Olives

Slow Cooked Duck Ragu

Slow Cooked Duck Ragu


“If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it could be a really ugly swan.”
― Timmothy Radman

Early in my AIP caper, I went through a phase of trying one previously untried new vegetable each week. And, it was an adventure. Uncharted vegetable territory! Kohlrabi, Daikon radish, Jerusalem artichoke (sun choke) – just some of my successful experiments!

And, I’m sure there are still many vegetables around for me to sample – they’re just not quite as readily available.

Even though I loved the whole ‘try a new veggie every week’ experiment, eventually I branched out and started trying other new ingredients, too. Anybody who has been following AIP for any length of time will tell you that you become a little more intrepid about offal and secondary cuts of meat, as a matter of course. Still haven’t dipped my toe into the head cheese-making waters, though!

We don’t eat a huge amount of chicken at our place – with the exception of chicken livers and the occasional grilled thigh. But, we do have access to the very wonderful Burrawong Gaiian poultry at the farmers market every other Saturday. Beth’s duck fat is so, so very good. In the summer, throwing a grilled duck breast over a salad of leaves, avocado and stone fruit makes for a super-speedy and easy-yet-delicious supper.

And then there are the whole ducks…

In my quest to try new things, it occurred to me that I had never tried cooking a whole duck. There was a disastrous experience with a goose when my Mum tried to recreate a German Christmas one year (which is never to be spoken of when you visit my Mum), but a whole duck – nope. Never before.

One of the reasons we don’t eat a lot of chicken is because David is not fond of all the bones. I know – strange phobia – but, nevertheless, true.

It occurred to me, if I slow-cooked the duck and removed all the bones, then that should make David happy. And, I love a good ragu – so that should make for a happy household all around…

Duck Ragu with Olives

The result exceeded expectations. For both of us.

This recipe is a little more labour-intensive than my usual slow cooks because of the need to render some of that glorious duck fat off the bird before you pop it into the oven. This, of course, provides you with a side benefit of all the lovely duck fat.

And, I use my Tomato Free Passata in lieu of tinned tomatoes. For the uninitiated, tomatoes fall into the nightshade family which are removed on the Autoimmune Protocol. If tomatoes are not a problem for you, then feel free to throw in regular passata or tinned tomatoes instead.

Oh – and one last thing. Don’t forget to save all those lovely duck bones for bone broth! Be a shame to waste them.

David, the bone dude, reckons this is ‘dinner party worthy’!

Slow Cooked Duck Ragu with Olives
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is AIP friendly
Recipe type: The Main Event
Serves: 6-8
  • 1.8 - 2kg pasture raised duck
  • 100g bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 750mls tomato-free passata
  • 500mls duck or chicken bone broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 125g pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 180°C / 350° F.
  2. First, we need to portion the duck. Use your kitchen scissors to cut along either side of the duck's backbone. Save this for bone broth-making. Now, quarter the duck by cutting each half in half again. (it doesn't have to be pretty!). Season with salt.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed casserole or dutch oven over a medium-high heat. In 2 batches, brown the duck quarters, skin-side down for 5 minutes or until golden. Turn the quarters over and cook for a further couple of minutes. Set browned quarters aside and repeat.
  4. Drain the fat from the casserole, reserving about 1 tablespoon in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook bacon, onion, celery, carrot, garlic and bay leaves, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 - 10 minutes. Stir in bone broth and scrape the pan to dislodge any lovely brown bits that have cooked onto the base. Add the browned duck quarters, tomato-free passata, rosemary and spices. Cover pop into the oven for 60 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to 150°C / 300°F and cook for a further 90 minutes.
  7. Using tongs, carefully transfer the cooked duck to a plate. Using two forks, remove and discard the duck bones. Shred the duck meat. Stir into the sauce with the olives. Check for seasoning.
  8. Garnish with parsley.
Some serving suggestions:
  • on a bed of zucchini noodles
  • spooned into a baked sweet potato with a green salad on the side
  • over cauliflower rice
  • with some simple roasted vegetables

E N J O Y !

 This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable

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