Sweet-Tart Duck Breasts With Fresh Cherry Sauce Recipe

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.

Recipe Details

Sweet-Tart Duck Breasts With Fresh Cherry Sauce Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 30 mins
Serves 2 servings


  • Two 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
418 Calories
20g Fat
25g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 418
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 162mg 54%
Sodium 1042mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 12mg 60%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 338mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)