Roasted Duck Breast with Sour Cherries

July 14, 2009
3 Ratings
Author Notes

I was at my local farmer's market last week and saw a box of beautiful sour cherries. I'd never cooked with them before but I bought them anyway. My mother suggested I put them in a tart but I decided to try them with duck breast. Everyone was happy with the results. —sweet enough

Test Kitchen Notes

Like Heather, we had never cooked with sour cherries before. The raw cherries were pristine and nearly translucent, with a cautious nibble prompting a serious pucker. Simmering the cherries with the shallots, apricots, thyme, stock and wine mellows their tartness and gives rise to a bright, fragrant sauce that complements the duck, an often gamey bird. Helen, our duck guru, showed us how to properly render the fat by keeping the heat at a slow, steady burn and (carefully) pouring off the fat every once in a while so that the breasts wouldn't start to deep-fry. - A&M —The Editors

  • Serves 4
  • 4 duck breasts with skin on
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup fresh sour cherries, pitted, stems removed
  • 4 fresh apricots, sliced in quarters
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup apricot nectar
  • 1/3 cup red wine (I used a Pinot Noir)
In This Recipe
  1. heat oven to 450 degrees. rinse and pat dry the duck breasts and score the fat in a cross hatch pattern. Sprinkle both sides with salt and papper. Place them fat side down in a heavy pan over a medium high heat for about 7 minutes or until the fat is golden brown.
  2. turn the breast over and place a sprig of thyme under each breast. place the pan in the oven and roast for about 7 to 10 minutes depending on how you like it cooked. remove the breasts from the pan and place on a serving dish and cover tightly with foil.
  3. pour off all but about two tablespoons of the duck fat. place the minced shallots in the fat and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes. add the cherries and apricots and cook for about 1 minute then add the stock, nectar and wine. cook over medium heat until the sauce is reduced by about half. discard the thyme sprigs and correct seasoning.
  4. slice each breast and fan the meat on each plate. spoon sauce over the meat and serve.
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