Sweet-Tart Duck Breasts With Fresh Cherry Sauce

[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Juicy, crispy duck breast on a bed of sweet-tart cherry sauce with balsamic vinegar and honey. What could be more delicious or impressive? I'd recommend this for the perfect stay-at-home Valentine's Day meal.

Baby greens lightly tossed in olive oil and lemon juice or super-creamy puréed potatoes would be the perfect accompaniments.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way.

Sweet-Tart Duck Breasts With Fresh Cherry Sauce

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 2
Active time:10 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in: French in a Flash: Sweet-Tart Duck Breasts with Fresh Cherry Sauce


  • 2 5- to 6-ounce duck breasts
  • Coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 7 ounces Bing cherries, pitted, stemmed, and halved
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 twists on the black pepper mill
  • 1 teaspoon honey, preferably orange flower
  • 1/2 tablespoon very cold unsalted butter


  1. 1

    Take the duck out of the fridge 15 minutes before you want to use it. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Score the fat on top of the duck in a crosshatch fashion, carefully to score only the fat and not the flesh beneath it. Season the duck on all sides with salt.

  2. 2

    Preheat a small nonstick skillet on medium heat. Place the duck, skin-side-down, in the hot pan and leave it alone for 10 to 12 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the fat has rendered.

  3. 3

    Take the pan off the heat, and turn the duck breasts over so the bottom of the breasts are coated in the rendered duck fat. Pour the excess fat into a heat-proof container, and keep for frying potatoes.

  4. 4

    Put the duck, skin-side-up in its original sauté pan, in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. The internal temperature will be about 135°F. Let the duck breasts rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing.

  5. 5

    To make the cherry sauce, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and the shallots. Sauté for 1 minute, just to soften the shallots. Add the wine, stock, and cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt to taste, and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

  6. 6

    Remove a 1/4 cup combination of liquid and cherries and purée in a mini food processor. Return the puréed mixture to the pan with the rest of the sauce, and stir in the honey and the cold butter.

  7. 7

    Slice the duck. Pour the sauce onto a serving plate, and arrange the slices of duck on top. Season with a bit of salt and pepper for garnish.

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