Duck Breast in Red Wine Sauce with Dried Cherries

Sure, it looks fancy, but cooking it's a breeze, fellas.

A little fancy, sure, but totally worth it and not at all hard.

We never ate duck when I was a kid. I think I’ve had it a handful of times as an adult.

While it may seem fancy, duck is actually really easy to cook and still quite affordable. If you’re just trying this out, look for duck breast only; but if you’re a little more adventurous, get the whole duck. I bought this one fresh at Farm Boy for about $24. I got two breasts, two legs, a carcass and 2 cups of duck fat. Have you ever had roasted potatoes with duck fat? Amazing! And with 2 cups of the stuff per duck, you’re practically swimming in it; that’s 4 or 5 roast potato dishes, at least. The carcass you can use for stock. Duck makes for a subtle, clear stock. You can use it anywhere chicken stock is used. I have yet to use the legs for anything, but Duck Confit is an obvious choice. Stay tuned.

The recipe here is based on a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Cooking for Friends. I pretty much swapped out all the sauce ingredients of his. He uses fresh cherries, black cherry jam and port. I use dried cherries, any cherry jam and wine. Get lots of dried cherries because I guarantee you will eat a ton while cooking this. For the cherry jam, ideally,  look for any jam that has just cherries and pectin. Use a wine you would drink.

Speaking of wine, take advantage of duck’s perceived fanciness, serve this with some good wine and tasty dessert to someone you want to get to know better (if you know what I mean), or someone whom you already know but want to get reacquainted (if you know what I mean)1. You’ll “get to know them”, I guarantee it.

You know what else comes with its own cooking medium? Bacon. Mmmmmmm, bacon.

Serves 2

  • 2 duck breasts, skin on
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tbsp cherry jam
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (or duck stock)

Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place in a cold, dry pan, skin side down. Place on a medium heat. Let the fat render out of the duck breast and let the skin get crisp and golden, 10-12 minutes. Duck, like bacon, provides its own fat for cooking. Turn the duck breast and cook until medium rare, another 2-3 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and let rest.

Pour off most of the fat into a jar (save it for the most delicious roast potatoes ever). Add the shallot to the pan, cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Deglaze with the wine. Increase the heat, bring the wine to a boil and reduce down to nearly nothing. Add the cherries, jam and stock. Return to the boil and reduce by half, until syrupy.

Serve the duck breast with the sauce and some wilted greens (beet greens are pictured; bok choy or spinach also work). Goes great with brownies for dessert.

You’re welcome, fellas.

Deal sealer, no question: get to it.


  1. I don’t think I know what I mean here anymore, but, anyway… []

Jason Kemp is a geek trapped in a cool guy's body. He hand crafts software for the web and mobile devices. He excels at user interface design, the deadlift and barbecue. He is @ageektrapped across the internet.

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