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Duck Breasts with Citrus Port Cherry Sauce


Making duck breast is nothing to be afraid of. This was my first attempt, and it turned out perfectly. I adapted this recipe from Food Network. The duck was moist, cooked to pink, the way I like it. The internal temperature should be 125F for rare, but I cooked mine to 130F. You can see step-by-step photos on how I made this on my blog.

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  • 4 boneless duck breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, minced
  • 1/4 cup ruby port wine
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup pitted frozen black cherries*, thawed and roughly chopped
  • NOTE: I used 1/2 cup sour cherry preserves
  • 2 small pats of unsalted butter (optional)


Servings 4
Adapted from


Step 1

Score the skin of the duck breast with a knife in 2 directions, crossing over each other (makes a crosshatch). Season both sides of each duck breast with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat, place the duck breasts skin side down. Sear the breasts until the skin is golden brown about 10 minutes, flip and sear the other side for just 3 minutes. Remove the duck breasts, cover loosely with foil, and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour off most excess fat from skillet, and place it back on the stovetop over medium heat.

Add the shallots and saute until translucent. Pour in the port wine and orange juice, and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the orange zest and cherry preserves and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the mixture and to thicken.

*Optional: off-heat, add the unsalted butter and whisk until it's incorporated into the pan sauce. The butter gives a silkier texture, and adds a richer flavor to the sauce.

Slice the breasts into 1/4-inch slices on a diagonal. Pour the cherry port sauce over the top and enjoy!

Cook's Note: excess duck fat can be refrigerated and is great for cooking potatoes or eggs


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