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Roast Duck Breasts with Dried Cherries

1 of 3 in Series: 60-Minute Weeknight Entertaining Menu for Four

If you’re a dark meat aficionado Duck Breasts with Dried Cherry Wine Sauce makes a great Christmas dinner. This dish is guaranteed to impress your family and guests and you can make it in 30 minutes or less. If one of your holiday parties falls on a work night, this dish is perfect.

First, you have to make a trip to a specialty food store to buy dried cherries and demi-glace, which is a rich, flavorful stock reduction. A butcher can get the duck breasts for you. Different ones are on the market, but Pekin duck breasts (Long Island style) are particularly lean and a perfect.

Duck Breasts with Dried Cherry Wine Sauce

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

2 whole Pekin duck breasts, cut in half (the four half breasts should weigh approximately 8 ounces each)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup demi-glace

1/4 cup dried cherries

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1/4 cup fruity dry red wine, such as Merlot

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Trim the duck breasts of excess fat; pat the breasts dry. Score the breast meat and skin in a crosshatch pattern into small 1/2-inch squares. (This will help quickly render the fat when it is in the pan, which will prevent the duck from sticking.) Combine the salt, pepper, and thyme and season the breasts on all sides. Set aside.

  2. Whisk the water and demi-glace together in a clean saucepan until they’re blended. Add the cherries, marmalade, and vinegar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the wine and return to a boil for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

  3. Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add the breasts, skin side down, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes or until the skin has begun to brown and crisp. (The duck fat may smoke as it cooks off.) Turn the breasts over and cook about 3 minutes more, depending on how rare you want the meat to be. Unlike chicken, duck breasts are best a bit pink. Remember that they will continue to cook once removed from the heat.

  4. Remove from the skillet onto a plate, let rest for 1 minute, and slice crosswise into thin slices. Fan out the slices on warmed dinner plates and spoon the warm sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Pass the rest of the red wine.

These go great with wild rice or sweet potatoes as a side dish. Make a green veggie too, like broccoli or green beans.

Per serving: Calories 232 (From Fat 81); Fat 9g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 82mg; Sodium 1,717mg; Carbohydrate 23g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 17g.

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60-Minute Weeknight Entertaining Menu for Four

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