The secret of this dish is duck broth, which it should be simmered for 5 hours in the oven. You can do this a day ahead and keep it refrigerated until you need it. If you don’t have that much time, use beef broth instead. If you like duck so much, you can use 400 g. ground duck & 150 g. ground chicken for duck meatball instead of 250/300 as indicated below.
This is similar to “duck noodle soup” that serves in Thailand, except in Thailand, it is served with duck confit instead of making meatballs out of it. This recipe is just as good if not better.
I served this to people who are not fond of duck, and they absolutely loved it. I recommend you make a big pot of broth & a lot of meatballs because they keep well, and they taste good after being refrigerated.
Duck meatballs and tagliatelle in broth..
- 16 oz. tagliatelle or any kind of pasta you like, cooked as per instruction on the package
- 6 cups duck broth (see below) (beef broth is ok)
- Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, to serve
- pea shoots, to garnish
- 6 oz. fresh wild mushroom (option)
Duck meatballs (12 meatballs)
- 1 tablespoon butter or duck fat
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 20 g. (2-3 slices) bacon, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely crushed
- 250 g. ground duck (no skin)
- 300 g. ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 F. To make meatballs, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat with onion and bacons until the bacons starting to crisp. Season with salt & pepper. Add garlic and stir for a few minutes. Set aside.
Combine ground duck, ground chicken, onion mixture, flat-leaf parsley, cornstarch, and bread crumbs in a bowl. Mix everything by hand, but do not over mix. Cook a little bit to test for seasoning; add salt & pepper to your liking.
Divide the mixture into 12 meatballs, and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Put the duck broth in a large saucepan, and bring to the boil. Add mushroom and tagliatelle and stir for 2-3 minutes; mushroom will be cooked, and tagliatelle will get warmed and untangled.
To serve, ladle the broth, mushroom, meatballs and tagliatelle in the bowl and garnish with cheese and pea shoots.
Duck Broth (6 cups)
- 2 frozen duck legs confit (see note)
- 12 oz. uncured bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1-2 small carrots, roughly chopped
- 1-2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 8 cups Beef stock, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 oz. organic dried mushroom
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 275 F (200 C).
In a large dutch oven, add olive oil & bacon and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add onion and salt & pepper; cook until onion becomes translucent. Add carrot, celery, garlic, and stir for 5 minutes further.
Add frozen duck legs, beef stock, bay leaf, dried mushroom, ground ginger and allspice in the saucepan. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 5 hours.
Remove from the oven and strain the broth, discarding the bones and vegetables. Put the duck meat back into the pot.
Note: if you prefer to use raw duck legs, roasted them in 400 F until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Reference: this recipe is adapted from “Nuovo Mondo: New Italian Food by Stefano de Pieri & Jim McDougall.”