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Duck Breast with Sour Cherry Sauce

Life in this small city is not dull!  I bought 10 fresh ducks from Webb Colony.  The Hutterites have the best chicken and the only place I have found so far for local duck.  But, since they only harvest a couple of times a year, I thought it best to stock up.

One duck was for a friend and I froze two to cook whole for myself.  I spent all evening cutting up the remaining seven ducks!  I was exhausted.  I froze all the duck breasts.  And I have the legs and thighs curing in the refrigerator for confit.

Then with all the little bits of meat here and there, I made ground duck.  I'll cook that later and will have a wonderful treat for you.  All the skin was cut into little pieces and I rendered the duck fat.  I have 2+ litres of wonderful white duck fat.  And also, don't forget about the cracklings.

I blogged all about cutting a duck and rendering fat and making confit.  Just click on my links and you will find my recipes.  Today is just a special dinner for me.  Duck Breast with Sour Cherry Sauce.

I picked the sour cherries at Treasure Valley farm.  They are so fast to pick and I was so excited.  But now that I am pitting all of them, it is more exhausting than exciting.  I made the first two pounds into a simple preserve adding 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of red wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  I thought this would leave it simple enough to customize later.  I processed this in a water bath and will store away in my cold room for later.

For this recipe, I simply used the pan that I cooked the duck breast in.  I drained off most of the fat and only left a little on the bottom of the pan.  Then I  added some dried rosemary and the sour cherry sauce. 

I served this with some fiddleheads from the freezer and homemade pasta, also from the freezer.  Almost like fast food!

Duck Breast with Sour Cherry Sauce

1 duck breast
1/4 cup sour cherry preserve
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of syrup from cherry preserve
1/4 cup fruity red wine

Preheat oven to 425F.

Score the skin of the duck breast at regular intervals in a crisscross pattern, cutting through the skin only and not into the meat.  Season each side of the breast with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

Sear the duck breast, skin side down, in a very hot cast iron pan.  Turn the duck over so the skin is up and place the pan in the oven.  Cook until medium rare, about 10 minutes for medium sized breasts and 12 minutes for large.  When cooked, tent with tin foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots and garlic in duck fat skimmed from the duck breast.  Add the wine and cherry syrup.  Add chopped thyme.  Add the cherry preserves.  Boil until sauce is reduced by about one third.  If desired, this sauce can be thickened with a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of cold water.

To serve, slice the duck breast about 1/2 inch thick crosswise on a diagonal and spoon sauce over.


  1. How I love cherry sauce with duck, and this is a beauty. Sadly, cherries cost a fortune here so I never get as many as I would like (how I miss my cherry trees). All that duck sounds amazing... I am so jealous... sounds like you will be eating like a queen for a while, Lucky you!!!

  2. It looks great! We can only get duck here around Christmas, sadly.

  3. I couldn't find sour cherries to save my life this year. :( And I have some many great recipes that I'd like to have made with them - this one included. My husband absolutely loves duck breast.

  4. Sounds delicious, but alas I don't have a ready supply of either duck or sour cherries. Lucky you!

  5. Valli> Thx :)

    Deana> yes, like a queen! It is all I can do not to pull out a confit dug leg when I have the hungries!

    Marjie> perhaps I can also find them here at Christmas time! I just didn't want to take a chance that I wouldn't find them until next year :(

    Michelle> this is the first time I have found sour cherries. At least there is something 'gourmet' available in this little town!

    Henfruit> yes, I feel lucky with this.

  6. Lady, you sure know your way around a duck & that recipe sounds delicious! It would probably be fabulous paired with a Pinot Noir. I look forward to reading all your articles regarding duck - I love it but have never made it myself. Thanks so much for sharing - look forward to your next post!

  7. This is a rather French influenced recipe :) Très gourmand (Very gourmet)


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