Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Duck ragout, or thick French stew similar to coq au vin.
Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

Today is my first outing with a new blogging group: Wine Pairing Weekend. And today we are pairing wines on the theme of New Year, New Wine.  Often when I think of new wines for the new year,  I think of Beaujolais nouveau, a type of French wine  made from Gamay grapes that comes out every year close to Thanksgiving. But that doesn’t really speak to new wines in 2017.

I tried to think of wine types that I haven’t had before, but it all gets fuzzy after awhile. I don’t track my wines the way Bill does with his beers over at Potable Pastime. For me, the empty wine bottles go back for decades. And I am not so big on the common brand name wines you might  see in any given grocery store.

But I am big on reds. My  favorite being Cab Sauvignon, then perhaps Bordeaux,  or a good Malbec or Syrah. As you can tell, I like bold dry, full bodied reds.

When I went to  shop  for something new for this particular post, I came across the 2012 Chateau de Segries Lirac Rouge Cuvee Reservee, a Rhone wine from the south of France containing a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% Mourvèdre. So you can see I was right in the ballpark with what I like on this wine, albeit Grenache is a bit lighter than what I usually buy. And the Cinsault I am not 100% sure what all  I have imbibed that it has been in. It *might* have been new to me. Since that type of grape is heavily used in blends, it makes it less easy to remember than Grenache or Syrah.

2012 Chateau de Segries Lirac Rouge Cuvee Reservee

It was also quite appealing that it receiving a rating of 90 points from Wine Advocate, while still being moderately priced. So I thought I’d give this one a go, without so much as a taste and that is fairly unusual for me.

At home, I checked up on it since I hadn’t drank it before and found that it pairs well with stews, grilled meats, game, and various cheeses. Since it was from the south of France, I decided on something stew-like, with duck, since that is about as close to being game meat without actually being game meat. And since a duck ragout is relatively stew-like, I thought I’d made that and serve it with a French version of polenta,  since that kind of thing is at least popular in the SW region of France. And I definitely have not ever posted a duck ragout. No polenta either. So I think I have at least 2 “new” points to go on there.

Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

The pairing works out well, with the wine having spicy notes of black pepper mixed with dark fruits such as blueberry and black cherry, which I think is a perfect duck counterpart.  My bottle was moderately priced at $20 so while not a common table wine, it is easily accessible (or so I think).

As for the ragout I made, first I want to make sure you understand that this is a bit different from an Italian ragu (you may recognize that from the popular pasta sauce brand) which is supposed to be a ground meat and tomato sauce mixture for pasta. The French version is more like stew, being made with meats, vegetable, and with or without any tomato. I used just a tiny bit to enhance the flavor, as I might do with a beef stew.

I also used a common Burgundy table wine in this to to cook with. It is drinkable, not bad, but most certainly not a celebration wine. And I am not here to promote their brand. 😉 Suffice it to say that I don’t cook with things like salted cooking wines, but also don’t use wine to cook with that costs much over about $10/bottle.  You know the old “if you can’t drink it, don’t cook with it” mantra.

But anyway, I hope you enjoy this. I think it is perfect fare for #Icegeddon ’17. Ha! I’ll be back again tomorrow with something-or-the-other (one of my Mom’s favorite “isms” whenever I used to ask her what was for dinner when I was young). I am still hunting for my khoreshe (Persian style stew) recipe and  if I find it, that will go up. Otherwise, I’ll figure something out. So let’s just call it “Chef’s Surprise” for now, or the “Sunday Blue Plate Special”, shall we? Until then, stay warm and dry!

Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Duck Ragout:

  • 2 pounds duck legs
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon duck fat or lard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 6 ounces thick bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, as whole buttons
  • 3-4 small bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons herbes d’provence
  • 1  cup dry red Burgundy wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 cups duck broth or chicken broth


Note: begin preparing polenta (recipe below) after ragout has simmered about 30-40 minutes.

  1. Season duck legs with salt and pepper then brown in the duck fat; remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Drain off the fat to the original tablespoon.
  3. Saute the garlic, bacon lardons, onion, celery, mushrooms and carrot with the bay leaves, thyme, and herbes d’provence until onion  softens. Deglaze with the wine.
  4. Stir the tomato paste and cornstarch into the cold broth, then stir into the pan.
  5. Add the duck legs back to the pan, then cover, and simmer for one hour.
  6. Remove duck legs and set aside. Remove skin and discard. Pull of the meat, shred and return to the pan. Save the duck bones for another use, such as freezing them to make duck broth on another day.
  7. Raise heat on the pan and cook for about half hour without the lid, or until thick and bubbly.
  8. Serve ragout over thick creamy polenta.

Creamy Polenta:

  • 1 cup uncooked cornmeal (polenta)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon duck fat (or butter)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche


  1. To prepare polenta, place broth, salt and pepper and polenta in a saucepan (this is a cold water start), and whisk together.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and add duck fat and butter. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently (you don’t want it to stick on  the bottom or lump) for 45 minutes or until polenta is tender and mixture is thick.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese and creme fraiche. 

From the kitchen of

Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Wine Pairing Weekend

“New Year, New Wine”

Join us in exploring new wines with our pairings below!

You can join the conversation about new wine and food pairings to go with it! Our live #winePW Twitter Chat will take place this Saturday, January 14, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Just tune into the #winePW hashtag between 11 and noon ET that day. Check out past and upcoming Wine Pairing Weekend events here.

14 responses

  1. I’m so glad you joined Wine Pairing Weekend. Your Duck Ragout recipe sounds delicious. I have never made it, I often use lamb in a similar dish, but now I want to try this. Thanks for sharing and welcome!

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