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Duck Breasts with Pinot Noir and Cherry Sauce

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 duck breast half and 1/4 cup sauce)
This recipe starts with a gastrique, a classic combination of caramelized sugar, vinegar, and fruit. Whipping cream finishes the sauce, adding velvety richness that underscores the robust flavor of duck. Serve with green and wax beans.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless duck breast halves, skinned
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups pinot noir or other spicy dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

Nutrition Information

  • calories 416
  • caloriesfromfat 29 %
  • fat 13.2 g
  • satfat 4.9 g
  • monofat 5.6 g
  • polyfat 1.2 g
  • protein 48.1 g
  • carbohydrate 23.7 g
  • fiber 4.3 g
  • cholesterol 264 mg
  • iron 8.5 mg
  • sodium 387 mg
  • calcium 42 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 1 minute). Continue cooking 5 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat; carefully stir in cherries and vinegar (caramelized sugar will harden and stick to spoon). Place pan over low heat until caramelized sugar melts.

  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper over duck. Add duck to pan; cook 5 minutes. Turn duck over; cook 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cut duck across the grain into thin slices.

  3. Return skillet to medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, shallots, and garlic to pan; cook 1 minute or until tender, stirring frequently. Add wine to pan; increase heat to medium-high. Bring mixture to a boil; cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 6 minutes). Add broth; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 6 minutes). Pour wine mixture through a fine sieve into cherry mixture; discard solids. Bring cherry mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in cream; simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Serve sauce over duck.