Duck Confit Ravioli

Duck confit – the best thing to come out of France since the croissant. Which was actually invented in Vienna. Anyway…

Done in 24 hours

Serves 4

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This is the sort of recipe you could woo someone with. It's meaty, it's classy, it's very ducky. Also fresh pasta is very impressive.


Dry the duck legs with paper towels. Take a large baking tray and scatter it with half the salt, half the pepper and half the thyme. Place the duck legs on top, flesh side down. Scatter with the remaining salt, pepper and herbs and cover with clingfilm. Place in the fridge for around 24 hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 110°C. Take the legs from the baking tray and gently rinse off the salt and aromatics underneath the cold take. Pat the legs dry again.

Heat the duck fat gently in a saucepan over the stove. Pack the legs in a small but deep oven dish or casserole (a loaf tin would work) along with the garlic, peppercorns, bay and thyme and pour over the fat - make sure the legs are completely submerged. Place a lid or tin foil over the top.

Bake for roughly 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is just coming away from the bone. Keep checking to see how the garlic is doing - if it looks like it's too dark then remove the cloves. Carefully remove the legs and strain the fat - you can keep it in the fridge as a delicious flavourful thing to fry potatoes in or make another batch of confit to store for later. Carefully remove the skin and set aside then shred the meat into sizeable chunks, then finely chop.

Mix with the duck juices that will have settled at the bottom of the roasting dish, the cream, the fried shallots and the parsley and chives. Set in the fridge to firm up.

Make the pasta! Mix the eggs thoroughly with the salt. Place the flour on a clean worktop in a big heap, then fashion a well in the centre like a volcano. You are going to pour the eggs in here so make sure it's deep enough - don't make the same mistakes I did.

Gradually add flour from the sides in little twirling motions until the egg has thickened, then go hell for leather and bring it all together. Depending on the eggs you use, you'll have a golden hued stiff rough dough.

Knead it for around 10 minutes until it has smoothed out. An indication of readiness is lightly poking it with a finger - if it springs back, your work here is done. Wrap it in clingfilm and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so.

When your hour is up, quarter it and roll out each part so it's roughly 1 cm thick with tapering ends that'll fit into your pasta machine.

Working with one piece at a time, roll it through on your machines widest setting around 4 times then start decreasing the numbers with every pass. I like thick ravioli so I finished on 2.

Lay one of the sheets out and brush beaten egg. Pop 1 tbsp worth of the duck mixture on top and lay another sheet of pasta on top of that, pressing the air out and sealing them together. Use a ravioli cutter or roller to cut out your shapes.

While this has been going on make your sauce - reduce wine and stock together then add butter and cream. Season to taste and carry on reducing until you have a thick sauce, then add parmesan,

Cook the ravioli in salted water then add them to the sauce, tossing them to coat. Serve with finely chopped chives.

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Hugh Woodward

Hugh Woodward

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