Duck is a meat many people shy away from because they think it’s hard to cook. Here’s a method that makes duck “do-able”, pairing it with a fruity cherry sauce that’s a perfect match.
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 lb (450g) cherries, pitted (weigh them after you pit them)
- ½ cup (125 mL) orange juice
- ½ cup (125 mL) red wine
- zest of ½ large orange
- 4 small duck breasts or 2 large (approximately 700g/ 1.5lbs)
- Heat the oil in a heavy skillet on high heat.
- Sauté the shallots in the oil over medium-high heat until they start to soften (don’t let them brown).
- Add the cherries and give them a good stir to coat with the shallots and oil.
- Increase the heat to high and pour in the orange juice and wine.
- Let the mixture come to a boil then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by about half. You can keep on reducing this if you prefer a “jammier” consistency to your sauce but a more liquid sauce works well here. If you like, you can slightly crush the cherry halves with the back of a spatula but they look pretty intact as well!
- Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest.
- Cover and set aside.
- Remove the duck from the fridge approximately 15 minutes before you want to cook it.
- Score the duck skin first one way diagonally, then the other, making sure not to cut all the way through to the skin.
- Heat a heavy skillet (one with high sides will be very useful here to stop the fat spattering) over medium heat.
- When the pan is hot, place the duck breasts skin side down and cook for 8 minutes (the skin will be golden and crispy).
- Away from the stovetop, quickly pour off most of the rendered fat and turn the duck breasts over in the pan.
- Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes (5 minutes will be quite rare, so if you are new to duck you might like to cook it longer) then remove from the skillet.
- Place the duck breasts on a warm plate and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. They will continue to cook as they rest*. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. You might like to slightly warm the cherry sauce at this stage.
- Pour the cherry sauce in the middle of a deep serving dish. Make space in the middle of the plate for the duck.
- Slice the duck breast diagonally and place over the sauce. Serve family-style.
- (Alternatively, you could serve individual portions of the duck with ramekins of the sauce on the side). This dish goes well with pan-fried potatoes and steamed green beans.
Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the duck breast. If you prefer to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, the “Healthy Canadians” website recommends 165 degrees F for duck breast, although many prefer duck more rare than this.
Duck adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table
Duck with red wine cherry sauce recipe and photos developed for producemadesimple.ca by Mardi Michels. Mardi is a full-time teacher of French (and cooking) at an independent boys’ school in Toronto. She blogs about her culinary adventures, near and far, at eat. live. travel. write.