Duck Breasts with Cherries

Yield 2 or 3
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup fruity red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red currant or raspberry jelly
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 Magret Duck Breasts, about 12 oz
  • Salt and coarsely-ground black pepper
  • Arugula leaves, for serving
Recipe notes
In this easy duck breast recipe, the sweet-tart cherry, fruity red wine, raspberry jelly and a splash of red wine vinegar make a perfect pan sauce.
RECIPE Preparation
  1. To begin the sauce, put the cherries in a small saucepan with the wine and jelly. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Set the pan aside.
  2. Trim the excess fat from the magrets, then crosshatch the skin, cutting down almost to the meat so fat can escape. Sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a heavy, dry frying pan over medium heat. Add the magrets, skin side down, and fry until the skin is very brown and crisp to extract as much fat as possible, 5 to 7 minutes or longer if necessary. Turn and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Test a magret by poking the center with the point of a knife to see the color of the meat. If it is too rare for your taste, continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, but remember it will be very tough if overcooked. When done, set the magrets aside, skin side up, on a carving board. Cover them loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  4. To finish the sauce, discard the excess fat from the frying pan. Add the vinegar and boil, stirring to dissolve the pan juices, until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Whisk in the garlic and tomato paste. Pour in the wine from the cherries, keeping back the cherries with a pan lid. Boil until the wine is slightly syrupy and reduced by more than half, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cherries and heat them gently. Take the pan from the heat and stir in the butter a piece at a time. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and set the sauce aside.
  5. Carve the magrets on the diagonal into thin slices. (You can discard the crisp skin if you must, but what a pity!) Pile a mound of arugula leaves at the side of 2 or 3 plates. Arrange the duck slices, overlapping them, on the plates. Using a draining spoon, pile the cherries on the plates. Spoon the sauce over the duck and serve at once.