Duck Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce and Cherries

Duck Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce and Cherries
I adore duck breast with fruit sauce for dinner. Duck has dark meat so I prefer it rare to medium rare, like a steak.
Serves 4

2 whole duck breasts, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups red wine (fruity like a zinfandel or a syrah)
2 tablespoons shallots minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry cherries, pitted (divided)
Juice of one and a half oranges
2 cups unsalted chicken stock, reduced to 1 cup
1 ounce unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim away excess fat from the duck breast. Remove the tenderloins on the underside of the duck breast and reserve. Score skin at 1/2 inch intervals on a diagonal without piercing flesh. Wipe dry sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; leave in refrigerator.

2. Add red wine, shallots, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup cherries, duck tenders and orange juice to a sauce pan; over high heat. Boil and reduce to 1 cup, add reduced stock and reduce to ¾ cup. In a blender, or with a blender stick, puree with a pinch of salt and return sauce to sauce pan.

3. Remove duck from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. Preheat oven to 225° F.

4. About 15 minutes before serving, pat duck dry with paper towel. Place duck, skin side down, in a cold skillet. Place over medium-low heat and cook until skin is crisp and brown, about 10-12 minutes. Turnover and cook 1 minute.

5. Transfer breasts to a baking sheet and set in the oven to keep warm. They should be just firm when pressed (125° F) for medium rare. The residual heat from the duck and the warm oven will bring the temperature up to 130°F.

6. Meanwhile, pour off fat from the skillet; blot any remaining fat with paper towel. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of the spoon pass all of the sauce through. Add to the pan a long with the remaining ¼ cup of cherries. Gently reheat. Make sure you scrape up any bits that cling to bottom of the pan.

7. Heat the serving dishes. Add the butter about a tablespoon at a time swirling the pan and whisking to mix in the butter. Remove from the heat; season to taste with pepper and, if necessary, salt. Set sauce over very low heat, while slicing the duck breasts.

8. Remove duck breasts from the oven and place on a carving board. Pour some sauce in the center of the plate. Slice duck breasts diagonally 1/4-1/3” thick. Arrange overlapping slices on sauce in the center of the plate, serve immediately.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie