Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
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.

How to Make It

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Ratings & Reviews

Catwoman's Review

March 21, 2009
This was delicious. The sauce was a bit of trouble to make, but tasted great. I had to cook the sugar much longer than 5 minutes for it to turn golden, but it finally did. Definitely be careful then when adding the cherries & vinegar - the sugar hardens quickly & steams a lot. I will definitely make this again for a special occasion.

skirt53's Review

June 24, 2012
Since I haven't made this recipe yet, my only comment before going in is that the sauce takes approximately 15 minutes to make and I don't think the duck needs to rest 15 min. It would be cold and I don't like cold duck. Fortunately, my brother in law is a hunter and shoots wild game which is free to me, so I have it quite often. I'm thinking of making the sauce first, or cooking the ducks only 2 min aside in put in 250 degree oven. Will make another jcomment and rating later today after I make the recipe. I will serve with garlic mashed potatoes and either green beans or asparagus.

MomBon58's Review

January 06, 2009
Our Anniversary Dinner! Yum!

PaulMKE's Review

January 27, 2010
Excellent. I made a brown/white rice mix with some chopped pecans as a side which worked well with the sauce

LisaandScout's Review

October 03, 2010
You MUST make sure duck breast in skinned. Otherwise need an additional 3 minutes of cooking. Beware-- duck breasts are VERY expensive. $18 for four. Sauce excellent. Never got sugar to turn golden so moved on. Also, didn't add all the whipping cream. Seemed like too much. Turned out wonderful with just 1/2 the suggested amount. Would be great for company but browning the duck breasts was very messy.