Slow-Cooker Duck & Mushroom Ragu – Recipe! Image 1
Food, Main Courses

Slow-Cooker Duck & Mushroom Ragu – Recipe!

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Just because we’re in quarantine, doesn’t mean you can’t make fabulous food.  I know groceries are a little harder to come by, but lately I think ingredients are quite plentiful and we should all take advantage of this time in our lives, when we can actually focus on preparing a great meal.  Duck is something many of us have never prepared at home in our own kitchens.  It’s not that duck is a difficult thing to make, it just looks and sounds a little intimidating for some.  Duck breasts, which come with a layer of fat on top, are tender and juicy after cooking, and most of the oil renders from the meat, so it doesn’t taste fatty.

Duck breasts when slow-cooked, become fork-tender and the meat shreds with ease.  I think duck breasts make a great Ragu or meat sauce, because of their silky texture and how it clings to warm pasta, when served.  Mushrooms and duck are a match made in heaven because they both have a bit of earthiness to them, but in different ways.  Some may think duck is gamy, but it’s not – it’s full flavored and tastes like a darker meat chicken, and mushrooms give off flavors of the woods.  This combination is hardy and rustic, something I think most will enjoy.

You can buy duck breasts online or at finer grocery stores.  They aren’t as expensive as you’d think and this batch of Ragu feeds a crowd, and can be eaten several times during the week, or transformed into another meal.  Do you sense another leftovers recipe coming, most likely.

Slow-Cooker Duck & Mushroom Ragu – Recipe! Image 2


4 duck half breasts, Magret, Pekin or any variety

1 pound mushrooms, Button, Crimini, or Baby Bella – sliced

1 small white onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

14 ounces diced tomatoes

1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme

salt & pepper

oil for cooking

cooked pasta, polenta, or rice

Parmesan for sprinkling

(Serves 6-8)

Slow-Cooker Duck & Mushroom Ragu – Recipe! Image 3

Slow-Cooker Duck & Mushroom Ragu – Recipe! Image 4

Slow-Cooker Duck & Mushroom Ragu – Recipe! Image 5

To Prepare:

  1. Using a sharp knife, score duck breasts into a cross-hatch pattern (do not cut all the way through to meat.)  Sprinkle breasts with salt and pepper.
  2. In a slow cooker insert or large pan, add duck breasts skin-side-down and place over medium high heat.  Cook until fat renders from breasts and they become dark golden brown, about 7-8 minutes.  Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove duck from insert and drain all, but 1 tablespoon fat into a bowl.  Reserve fat for another use – duck fat potatoes, pie dough, or use as a cooking oil.
  3. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to pot and place over medium heat.  Cook for 4 minutes, then add tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons salt, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Place duck breasts back into pot and place into slow-cooker.  Top with fresh oregano and cook for 5 hours on low heat.  Remove oregano stems and shred duck meat with spoon, while stirring to combine.  Ladle sauce over hot pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Enjoy!
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