Canard Aux Cerises

Canard aux cerises is the great French dish of duck cooked with cherries. It makes for a truly sweet and savoury combination.

Preparation and Cooking Times

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 duck breasts (about 6-8 oz each)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup red wine (preferably Bordeaux)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh thyme leaves (for garnish)

Equipment

  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large skillet or frying pan
  • Small saucepan
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Plate or platter for resting the duck

Preparation

  1. Prepare the duck breasts:
    • Score the skin of the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat.
    • Season both sides of the duck breasts generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Cook the duck breasts:
    • Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in a cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the skin is crispy and the fat has rendered, about 6-8 minutes.
    • Flip the duck breasts and cook for another 3-4 minutes for medium-rare, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.
    • Remove the duck breasts from the skillet and place them on a plate to rest. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  3. Make the cherry sauce:
    • In the same skillet, add the finely chopped shallot and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
    • Add the red wine, balsamic vinegar, and honey, stirring to combine.
    • Add the pitted cherries and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.
    • Stir in the butter to give the sauce a glossy finish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve:
    • Slice the rested duck breasts and arrange them on plates.
    • Spoon the cherry sauce generously over the duck.
    • Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Notes:

  • If using frozen cherries, make sure to thaw and drain them before adding them to the sauce.
  • Adjust the sweetness of the sauce by adding more or less honey, according to your taste.
  • For a more intense flavor, you can add a splash of brandy or cognac to the sauce along with the wine.
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