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


Sauce - ingredientsDuck - diamondSlicing onion


  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. Add butter and mix well.
  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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