Seared Duck Breast with Cherry-Cranberry Pinot Noir Sauce

Serves 4


Duck breast eats like steak but has the calories and fat of lean poultry. The sauce brings out the rich meaty flavour of the duck while adding a tangy sweet element to the dish.


  • 1 ⁄4 cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1 ⁄3 cup raspberry vinegar

  • 1 ⁄4 cup dried tart cherries

  • 1 ⁄4 cup dried cranberries

  • 2 duck breasts, about 11 ⁄2 lbs

  • 3 ⁄4 teaspoon salt

  • 1⁄4 + 1 ⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 ⁄3 cup minced shallots

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 cups Pinot Noir wine

  • 1 ⁄2 cup veal or duck demi-glace

  • 1 ⁄4 cup double cream

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter



1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.


2. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the mixture turns golden, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully add the vinegar, cherries, and cranberries swirling the pan until the caramel dissolves.


3. With a sharp knife, score the skin of each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to cut into the flesh. Season the duck with 1 ⁄2 teaspoon of the salt and 1 ⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper.

4. Heat a large non-stick skillet over a medium heat; add the duck breasts, skin side down, and cook until browned, 4-5 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook 1 minute longer; transfer to a non-stick baking sheet. Set the baking sheet in the centre of the oven and roast the duck until a thermometer inserted into 
the thickest part of the breast registers 55°C for medium rare. Remove from the oven, cover the pan loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.


5. While the duck is in the oven, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet and heat over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the Pinot Noir and increase heat to medium-high. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the demi-glace and return to a boil. Continue boiling until the liquid is reduced 
to 3 ⁄4 cup, about 6 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve and set over the saucepan with the vinegar mixture, pressing hard on the solids with a spoon or spatula; discard solids. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer over a medium heat; cook for 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Stir in the remaining 1 ⁄4 teaspoon of salt and 1 ⁄8 teaspoon of pepper.

6. To serve, slice duck breasts thinly across the grain, fan over 4 plates and spoon warm sauce over.

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