Duck Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce and Cherries
Fresh sweet cherries are a perfect paring with duck. The sauce is a nice balance of sweet and sour from the balsamic vinegar and mustard. It's best to cook duck rare to medium rare because the duck breast is lean, and no more difficult to cook than a steak. You can prep most of the sauce ahead of time. If fresh cherries are out of season use 1/2 cup dry cherries.
4 duck breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups red wine (fruity like a zinfandel or a syrah)
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup red cherries, pitted (divided)
Juice of one and a half oranges
2 cups unsalted chicken stock, reduced to 1 cup*
1 ounce unsalted butter
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 making a cross hatch pattern without piercing flesh. Pat dry sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; place in refrigerator.
2. In a small sauce pan add the red wine, shallots, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup cherries, duck tenders and orange juice cook over high heat. Bring this to a boil and reduce to 1 cup, add reduced stock and reduce further to about ¾-1 cup. Pour sauce into a blender, blend with a pinch of salt until completely pureed it may take 30 seconds to a minute depending on your blender. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve, back into the sauce pan pressing with the back of the spoon pass all of the sauce through.
3. Remove duck from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. Preheat oven to 200° F.
4. Pat duck breasts dry with paper towel. Place duck breasts 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 another 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. Add the sauce to the pan a long with the remaining 1/2 cup of cherries and gently reheat. Make sure you scrape up any bits that cling to bottom of the pan.
7. Heat the serving dishes. Season the sauce to taste with pepper and, if necessary, salt. Keep sauce warm, while slicing the duck breasts.
8. Remove duck breasts from the oven and place on a carving board.Slice duck breasts diagonally 1/4-1/3” thick. Add the butter to the sauce about a tablespoon at a time swirling the pan and whisking to mix in the butter. Pour some sauce in the center of the plate. Arrange overlapping slices of duck on sauce in the center of the plate, serve immediately.
* to reduce your stock place it in a small pan bring it to a boil and cook until it is reduced by half.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie