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Duck Breasts with Sour Cherries

Yield 12
When organizing your dinner, plan to make the Saffron Rice Pilaf first because it can stand while you prepare the duck.


  • 2 cups red wine
  • 3/4 cup dried sour cherries (4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 skinless Pekin duck breast halves (5 ounces each)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey mustard
  • Saffron Rice Pilaf

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°. In a small saucepan, combine the wine and dried cherries and simmer over low heat for 3 minutes. Set aside.

  2. In each of 2 large skillets, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Add 6 duck breasts to each skillet and cook over moderately high heat until well browned and medium rare, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the duck breasts to a baking sheet, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven.

  3. Add half the mushrooms and shallots to each skillet, cover and cook over low heat, stirring once, until they are browned, about 4 minutes. Uncover and add 1/2 cup of water to each skillet. Simmer over moderately high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the skillets, until the water has reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add half of the cherry-and-wine mixture to each skillet and simmer until reduced by one-third, about 3 minutes. Scrape the contents of 1 skillet into the other. Stir in the honey mustard and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Remove the duck breasts from the oven and pour any accumulated juices into the sauce. Cut the duck breasts crosswise into 1/4 -inch-thick slices and arrange them on a warmed platter. Pour any carving juices into the sauce. Reheat the sauce briefly and pour it over the duck. Serve at once with the Saffron Rice Pilaf.

  5. Wine Recommendation: Red wine, such as the 1991 Quinta do Carvalhinho Bairrada Reserva from Portugal or the 1989 Cune Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja from Spain.

  6. Notes: ONE SERVING: Calories 209 kcal, Total Fat 3 gm, Saturated Fat .3 gm