Seared Duck Breast with Cherries


Adapted for kosher cooking from recipe by David Tanis

Serves 2


  • 2 Pastured duck breasts, about 1 pound each
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon allspice berries
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds


  • ¼ cup turbinado or raw sugar
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ pound ripe cherries, left whole or halved and pitted
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch or Cognac
  1. Season the Duck Breasts: Pulverize the peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves, bay leaves and fennel seed in a mortar or electric spice mill. Sprinkle spice mixture over duck breasts; massage seasoning into meat on both sides. For more-intense flavor, do this several hours ahead or overnight and refrigerate (recommended). Bring duck to room temperature before cooking.
  2. Make the sauce: Put turbinado sugar and red wine vinegar in a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until syrupy. Add red wine and chicken broth and simmer briskly until sauce coats spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside. You should have about 1 cup sauce. (Sauce may be made a day or two in advance, if desired.)
  3. Sear the duck breasts according to these instructions. When done, let rest on a warm platter for 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. To finish sauce, put coconut oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add cherries and granulated sugar and cook for a minute or two, stirring, until cherries are heated through and beginning to get juicy. Add kirsch and cook 1 minute more, then add previously prepared sauce and bring to a simmer.
  5. Thinly slice duck breasts at an angle and arrange slices on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce and cherries over meat and pass remaining sauce at table.

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