Serious Eats: Recipes

'My Father's Daughter': Gwyneth Paltrow's Duck Ragu

[Photographs: Ellen Silverman]

Last week Ed was invited to a cookbook launch party for Gwyneth Paltrow's My Father's Daughter. In attendance were none other than Jay-Z, Jerry Seinfeld, and Alex Rodriguez of New York Yankees fame. Great set of friends, right? When asked about the food, though, Ed mentioned that the Duck Ragu was quite good, which made me want to investigate this recipe for myself.

In the intro Paltrow explains that this recipe came from a particularly memorable birthday gift, a cooking lesson from Jamie Oliver and that it's her favorite recipe in the book—can you blame her? And it's a really fantastic sauce, rich and meaty with the kind of slow simmered flavors that a ragu should possess. But you should probably know that this is one pricey pasta topper; duck and duck bacon do not come cheap.

Instead of braising the duck in the sauce it's roasted in the oven and added to a slowly cooked tomato sauce enriched with duck bacon and a caramelized mirepoix of carrots, onions, and celery as well as a good bit of rosemary and a cup of red wine. Once the duck is cooked and cooled, it's shredded, added to the sauce, and simmered for an additional hour or more.

The sauce itself is awesome, good enough to make you rethink your love of Bolognese. But getting back to the cost factor, in the end this recipe made enough ragu for several meals and leaves you with nearly a cup of rendered duck fat and a carcass ready to make a big batch of duck stock. Whether or not Paltrow eeks out every last bit of duck from this recipe is anyone's guess but for the rest of us it's not a bad deal.

We have five (5) copies of My Father's Daughter to give away this weekend.

Adapted from My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow. Copyright © 2011. Published by Grand Central Life & Style. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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