Duck Breast With Cherries
If there's any downside to restaurant cuisine, it might be the bill at the end of the meal. However, it's entirely possible for even novice chefs to bring their favorite restaurant-style cuisine into the comforts of their own kitchen. With the following recipe for "Duck Breast With Cherries" from Raymond Blanc's "The Food of France" (Kyle Books), it's easy to enjoy five-star cuisine without paying five-star prices.
Duck Breast With Cherries Serves 4
- 2 fat magrets de canard, around 1 pound each (or 4 ordinary duck breasts)
- 1 pound fresh red cherries
- 2 teaspoons clear honey, for preference thyme- or herb-scented
- 3/4 cup red wine Juice of 1 orange, plus 4 slivers of zest
- A sprig of thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a heavy ridged grill pan over a medium heat. Score the fat of the magret at 1/2 inch intervals across, cutting just down to the pink flesh. Salt well and leave to stand for 10 minutes while the grill pan heats up. Place the magrets fat side down on the grill pan. As soon as the fat starts to run, pour around 1 tablespoon into a separate pan and drain off the rest into a bowl (it is worth keeping the fat for the roasting potatoes). Return the magrets to the heat. Set the pan with the hot duck fat over a gentle heat and add the cherries, turning to coat them in the fat. Cook for several minutes, then add the honey, the orange juice and zest slivers, the red wine, the sprig of thyme and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. If you like, this can be done in advance.
Now turn your attention back to the magrets, which by this time should have been cooking for around 12 minutes. Turn them over so that they are flesh side down -- the fat should be nicely browned by this stage -- and again drain off any excess fat. Cook an additional 5 minutes (more if you like your duck well done), then flip back onto the fat side for another few minutes to crisp up the fat. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Note that if you are using the thinner duck breasts rather than magrets, the cooking should be reduced.
If necessary, reheat the cherry sauce and in either case fish out the sprig of thyme. Slice the magrets across through the scores on the fat and arrange in a fan on four plates. Spoon the cherries and the sauce to the side, making sure each plate has a sliver of the orange peel, and serve.