A dish that is sure to impress anyone, this duck ragu pie is delicious and easy to make says Philippa Davis

This pie recipe makes the most of the duck’s flavour by cooking it whole first before shredding to create the filling. I tend to use an enamel dish as I think the pastry cooks better – if using ceramic you will need to increase the cooking time so the base is baked completely.


Serves 2


Pastry bottom

  • 80g plain flour
  • 40g chilled salted butter, grated
  • 40g strong cheddar, grated 1/2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten

Pastry top

  • 250g ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry

Duck ragu

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole duck, 600g-700g (I used a mallard)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium fennel, finely diced
  • 3 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau
  • 200ml Rioja
  • 400ml light game stock (or water)
  • 20cm diameter pie dish



  • Preheat the oven to 150C fan/gas mark 3 .
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, butter, cheese and rosemary.
  • Stir in half the egg (keep the rest for glazing) and 1 to 2 dessertspoons of iced water to bring into a dough.
  • Form into a disk, wrap and chill for 30 minutes before rolling and lining pie dish. Chill until needed.


  • Place a hob-to-oven casserole dish on a medium heat. Season the duck and brown on all sides in the oil then remove to a plate. Add the onions, fennel, celery, garlic, cinnamon and bay, turn down the heat, season and, stirring often, saute for 20 minutes. Stir in the flour.
  • Return the duck to the dish, breast side down and pour in the Rioja, stock and 1 tablespoon of Cointreau. Bring to a simmer then top with a cartouche and the lid.
  • Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the duck meat is tender.
  • Leave to cool slightly then shred the duck meat back into the sauce, after removing the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, and add the rest of the Cointreau. Leave to cool completely.
  • Spoon the ragu into the lined pie dish. Cover with puff pastry, crimp the edges and brush with the beaten egg. Use any pastry off cuts to decorate and brush again with the beaten egg.
  • This can now be refrigerated overnight or baked.

To bake

  • Preheat the oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the top is puffed up then turn the oven down to 160C fan/gas mark 4 and cook for 15-20 minutes. The top should be golden and the centre piping hot.
  • I love pies served with buttery mashed potato or celeriac and greens. If you want something lighter, try a crunchy green salad with mustard dressing.