Duck Breast with Wine-Cherry Sauce

Duck & cherry sauceCherriesDuck - searedDuck slices

I’ve always loved duck roast for its unmistakable flavor, its reach and exquisite taste and its mouth-watering crispy skin. But I’ve always felt discouraged to try to cook it. It seemed too technical and challenging to get the perfect seared duck breast. Last year I finally gave it a try and was the best decision ever. Little by little I managed to understand the meat, its physics and its chemistry. And it’s not difficult at all. If you pay attention to a couple of things, your seared duck will always turn out perfect.

I like my seared duck medium to well done, with a divine crunchy skin and a juicy, pinkish, flavorful meat. In order to get this finish I brown the breast in a cast iron skillet in its own fat, and I finish it in the oven for 6 minutes. After duck has rested for 5 minutes, I slice it and I serve it with a sweet and sour wine and cherry sauce. It is a wonderful combination!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 2 duck breasts (2 x 200g)
  • salt
  • pepper

for the wine-cherry sauce:

  • 1 cup pitted cherries (200g) – and their juice
  • 1/3 cup semi dry red wine (75ml)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth (75ml)
  • ½ shallot (or red onion)
  • 1 thyme branch
  • 1 Tbsp butter (15g)
  • 1 Tbsp duck fat (or olive oil)
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Duck

Sauce - ingredientsDuck - diamondSlicing onion

Method:

  1. One hour before you start cooking remove the duck breasts from the refrigerator and leave it on the counter to reach room temperature.
  2. Heat the oven at 375°F/190°C (gas mark 5).
  3. Wash the duck breasts and pat them dry. Remove the excess skin.
  4. Score the skin using a sharp knife.
  5. Place the duck breast skin-side down in a cold cast iron skillet on medium-high heat without oil and cook until brown for about 4 minutes.
  6. Brown the other side for about 2 minutes.
  7. Place the skillet in the oven with the duck skin-side down and cook for 6 minutes.
  8. After 6 minutes season with salt and pepper and let it rest on a plate uncovered for 5 minutes.
  9. Prepare the sauce. Peel and slice the shallot.
  10. Heat the duck fat/olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes).
  11. Add the thyme branch and the wine and cook on high heat until the alcohol has evaporated (about 2-3 minutes).
  12. Add the broth and the cherry juice and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.
  13. Add the cherries and simmer for 3 minutes.
  14. Season with salt, pepper, honey and balsamic vinegar.
  15. Slice the duck breast, pour the cherry sauce and garnish with pea and leek sprouts.

RestingWine-cherry sauceDuck & wine sauce
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