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Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Pinot Noir Sauce

A slightly sweet cherry sauce enhances this tender, moist, crispy duck breast. Pair with California Pinot Noir or Zinfandel.


  • 4 duck breast halves, with skin
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely chopped shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) California Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) dried cherries, sliced in halves
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
  • cooked long-grain white rice

Serves 4


  • Preheat oven to lowest temperature.
  • With a sharp knife, make three long shallow cuts about 1/2-inch (1.3cm) apart, just through the skin of each half breast.
  • Season the breasts generously with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, until hot.
  • Place the breasts, skin-side down, in the skillet.
  • Cook for 8 minutes; the skin should be deep golden brown.
  • Turn the breasts and cook for 3 minutes (for medium rare), or longer.
  • Transfer the breasts to a heatproof dish and place in the oven to keep warm.
  • Remove all but two tablespoons (30 ml) of the duck fat from the skillet.
  • Place the skillet over medium heat and add the shallot and garlic.
  • Cook for 1 minute, stirring often, until the garlic is lightly browned.
  • Raise heat to medium-high and pour the wine and chicken stock into the skillet.
  • Bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid and thicken it slightly.
  • Add the cherries and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and quickly whisk in the butter.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove duck breasts from the oven and cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) slices.
  • To serve, divide the rice among four plates, arrange the duck slices over the rice and spoon the sauce over and around the duck.
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