Monday 10 November 2014

Roasted Duck Leg Ragu with Raisins

roast duck leg ragu with raisins
Serve with lots of Parmesan!
Who doesn't love ragu? I love it, and I'm usually partial to a long stewed beef ragu. I decided to see what I could do with some duck. I had an idea for a long time that duck would be good stewed as a ragu. When I got hold of some duck. it was duck legs on the bone and instead of boiling or deboning the legs I decided to roast them. After I roasted the legs I took the meat off the bone and then started the sauce. The result was amazing, in my opinion of course. I admit the idea for using the raisins wasn't just from a recipe that I previously read from Jamie Oliver, but I think the similarities are spot on and he knows what he's talking about here. Mostly when you cook something for a long time, it tends to get bitter. When cooking different types of cuisines that play on that sweet and sour note, you tend to have an instinct to throw in a dried fruit of some kind to counteract the bitterness that sometimes tinned tomatoes can cause. My mom and most recipes when cooking a bolognese call to add a bit of brown sugar or something. The raisins seemed to be a perfect hit and really fell apart and dissipated in the sauce and you'd never know they were there. Everything about this recipe is great especially the fact that you can do it ahead. You can roast the legs well in advance and take the meat off the bone and let it sit for a few days if you want. The sauce itself only takes a bit of boiling for about 45 minutes, and the results are really amazing.

I think this is a fantastic dish for anyone to try if they want minimal amount of work to impress someone. If you make the duck ahead of time then there's little to nothing to do for the sauce. I served this with store made fresh pasta and the second time I made it I tried to make my own pasta. I don't recommend ruining such a nice dish with your own experimentals, but definitely get hold of some good tagliatelle or pappardelle, something nice and thick to soak up the sauce. Serve with some nice garlic bread and a rocket salad. This recipe serves 2-3, but you can easily double the ingredients for a larger amount.

2 duck legs
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 medium carrot
1 rib celery
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
250ml red wine
¼ c. raisins or sultanas
1 sprig rosemary (leaves removed and chopped)
½ tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

To Start:
Place the duck legs in a small pan and roast for a couple of hours on 180C.
When done set aside and cool to room temperature, then remove the meat from the bone.

For the Ragu:
Dice the onion, celery and carrot and crush the garlic.
In a medium saucepan heat the oil, when hot add in the celery, carrot and onion saute for about 5 minutes.
Next add the wine and boil for another 2-3 minutes or until the alcohol evaporates.
When it's at least reduced by half, add in the tinned tomatoes and the can of water.
Bring to a boil and then add in the garlic raisins and duck meat.
When the sauce is back up to a boil, turn down to a low-medium heat and boil for about 30-45 minutes. You want a thick consistency, and check for salt and pepper at the end.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Filo Wrapped Salmon with Pesto

This is a recipe revamp today and I'm surprisingly excited to share it. It was good when I wrote it about 4 years ago and it's been one of my most popular recipes. The original photo is here but, I decided to re-photograph it and just revisit it to make sure it still tasted good! And from my new perspective on food and eating, I needed to see if it would fit in my diet! To be honest, it didn't fit in my daily week day meal plan because it just tipped the scales over 500 calories per portion, which is too steep for me. But it's a great weekend meal for me and lower calories than most of my weekend meals. Anyways, forget about that. It was delicious. I added pesto to the salmon to give it a nice twist. The nice thing with pesto is it has a nice flavour, even though it's high in calories and fat, you only have to use a tiny bit to make the flavour go far.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with salmon. I actually think it's one of the most boring fish out there. I personally don't think it's very versatile. It's one of the stronger flavoured fish, not that it tastes fishy but it has a distinct flavour. If I'm going to eat it, I normally have it on it's own without anything else with a strong flavour like simple boiled potatoes and a salad. Today with the pesto I just had some steamed broccoli along side. You use whatever you have and you should be right as rain. Try this recipe if you want a twist on salmon.

filo wrapped salmon with pesto
Serve hot with fresh vegetables.
2 125g salmon fillets skin removed
2-3 tbsp. Pesto
6 filo sheets

Since you have to work with the filo dough simply make sure all of the ingredients are at hand and ready to go.
Lay out 2-3 sheets of pastry and brush a tiny bit of the pesto around the edges.
Lay the salmon at the bottom of the square or recatangle.
Spoon 1 tbsp of pesto on top of the salmon, and fold the ends over the salmon and then roll it up.
Repeat for the next one.
Brush the tops with any remaining pesto.
Bake at 200C for 20 minutes.

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