Roasted Duck Breast with Sour CherriesĀ Sauce

July 14, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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)
  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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  • JanetRoss
  • gabrielaskitchen
  • sweet enough
    sweet enough
  • NakedBeet
  • lastnightsdinner

7 Reviews

JanetRoss April 8, 2012
How about using canned sour cherries in this recipe? Fresh sour cherries are hard to find in February, even in southern California. How would you change the recipe, if at all?
JanetRoss February 26, 2012
How about using canned sour cherries in this recipe? Fresh sour cherries are hard to find in February, even in southern California. How would you change the recipe, if at all?
gabrielaskitchen March 2, 2010
I thought I'd only eat Chinese roast duck, but now I think I will eat yours too!
sweet E. January 26, 2010
thank you for all your nice comments! I'm sorry to have not responded until now but I didn't see these until now. Anyway, jarred cherries would certainly work.
NakedBeet December 19, 2009
Love love the combination! (I'm a sour cherry fanatic) How do you think sour cherries in a jar (just in water) would work with this since they're already softened?
lastnightsdinner October 29, 2009
So nice to meet you last night! I will definitely have to try this - looks fabulous, and I'm always on the lookout for new duck preparations.
luvcookbooks September 28, 2009
I received a gift of frozen sour cherries for Rosh Hashanah and made the duck recipe. I used onions b/o no shallots, caramelized with about a teaspoon of sugar, and nectarines and plums b/o no apricots, port b/o I like port, and cherry juice b/o no apricot nectar. Added salt and pepper and 1 tsp of Koszciusko mustard. It was so good with the duck over rice, thank you!!