Duck Ragù with Creamy Polenta Recipe

  • 1 (4 1/2-pound) whole duck, cut into pieces, skin scored
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 1/2 ounces smoked pancetta, chopped
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup malt vinegar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups port
  • Amaranth leaves, to serve
  • 1 liter milk
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  1. Heat a large heavy-based pot over medium heat. Add the duck, skin-side down, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 7–8 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside. Drain the fat, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pot, and discard.
  2. Add the leek, garlic, pancetta and thyme to the pot. Cook for 4–5 minutes or until browned. Add the tomato paste and vinegar and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, port and the duck and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the duck is very tender.
  3. Remove the duck from the liquid and allow to cool slightly. Shred the meat, using 2 forks, discarding the bones and skin. Return the shredded meat to the pot, stir to combine and keep warm.
  4. To make the creamy polenta, place the milk in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Gradually whisk in the polenta and cook, whisking continuously, for 2–3 minutes or until thickened. Add the butter, cream, Parmesan, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Divide the polenta among serving plates, then top with the duck ragù, amaranth leaves and extra Parmesan to serve.