Duck and Pomegranate Ragu with Herbed Gnocchi

Serves: 4–6

  • 6 x skinless duck thigh and drumstick portions
  • salt and ground black pepper, to season
  • 1 Tbsp cake flour
  • 500g baby pickling onions, peeled and halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 spear of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 125ml pomegranate molasses
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • small bunch of thyme
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

1. Season the duck with salt and ground black pepper then lightly dust with flour.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and fry the duck portions in batches until they are golden brown on both sides.  Remove the duck and set aside

3. Fry the onions until glassy then add the crushed garlic, celery and carrot and fry for a few more minutes. Add the bay leaves and pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, white wine, stock, thyme, salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.

4. Return the duck to the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in an oven pre-heated to 160°C. Allow to cook for 2–3 hours or until the meat is so tender it falls off the bone.  

5. Remove the duck pieces and pull the flesh from the bones.  Return the duck to the sauce and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly. Pour in the lemon juice and check the seasoning.

For the gnocchi, click here.

a Bordeaux-style blend complements this dish.

To shop from a selection of South Africa’s best wines, go to

Recipe Diane Heierli • Photography C&D Heierli