Duck breast with port and cherry wine. Sounds decadent, doesn’t it?
Imagine a cooked-to-perfection duck breast served with a rich and flavorful Port wine sauce with added cherries. The combination of flavors leaves you wanting more.
Sweet, tart, and super delicious. A show stopper to any dinner parties with family and friends.
If you have never had or cooked with Port before, allow me to introduce you to it.
A wonderful alternative to your traditional turkey if you have a small intimate gathering during the holiday season.
What kind of wine is Port?
Port originates from Portugal. It is a sweet, very rich-in-flavor red wine. Mostly enjoyed as a dessert wine due to its richness.
The Port wines from Portugal should be served at room temperature. . A popular way of enjoying Ruby Port in the summer and with a meal is on the rocks with a peel of lemon.
Excellent pairing to prosciutto and cantaloupe. The two combined bring out the richness of each ingredient exponentially.
You can also pair it with rich cheese: Blue cheese or Roquefort is the perfect counterbalance.
Or simply salted or smoked nuts served alongside to nibble on while you are relaxing after a long day.
Let’s not forget desserts: chocolate or caramel.
How is Port wine different from regular wine?
Port is typically richer, sweeter, heavier, and with higher content of alcohol than your normal table wine. This is due mainly because of the addition of distilled grape spirit to fortify the wine and halt the fermentation before the sugar is converted to alcohol, resulting in alcohol content between 19% to 20%
What are the types of port wine?
Red, white, rose, and aged style called Tawny port. Although our grocery stores carry your average Port wine, you will find some very expensive and highly treasured port wines in specialty wine stores.
Most red Port wines have a berry and chocolate flavor and are slightly sweeter, and the tawny Port has caramel and nut flavors that are more the notes you will enjoy and also even sweeter.
Back to the recipe on hand, shall we?
Do not let cooking with duck and Port wine intimidate you. This recipe is quite easy to prepare and does not have too many steps.
A manageable level of difficulty, and the only part that requires just a bit of attention, is with scoring the skin, and I have added a tutorial video with this recipe to guide you thru it. However, it is quite simple.
To score the skin of each breast, you must first have a very sharp knife. Holding the breast with one hand and putting a very light pressure with the knife on the skin, score a few lines, making sure you do not put too much pressure to pierce thru the meat. Make a crosshatch pattern. This process will release the fat, the skin to crisp, and the meat to cook evenly.
This is the most difficult step.
Cherry Season is here.
Those little red nuggets of flavor are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and a hand full of very good for our ingredients. Cherries are considered one of the healthiest fruits.
However, the best part is that they are very low in calories; therefore, do not stop yourself from indulging in them.
Enjoy them from May to August, as they have an abridged season.
I could not let the cherry season pass me by and not indulge in making this duck breast dish with port and cherry sauce.
Sacrilegious to let it pass me by. I must also admit that cherries are my favorite fruits, and I adore duck; therefore, I am biased toward this sinful dish.
Tips and how to make this duck recipe dish to perfection.
As with all my recipes, I always suggest you remove all your ingredients and do any prep work before turning on the stove.
Do pit your cherries. Although you may think to leave the pit in and take it off while eating this dish, I strongly discourage you from doing so.
A small pit can cause unnecessary harm, and if you have little kids around, it is unsafe.
Bring the duck to room temperature, and meanwhile, you want to work on:
- Finely mincing the shallots.
- Pitting the black cherries.
- Preparing the cornstarch with water and set aside
- Measure the port and chicken stock.
- When selecting the chicken stock, purchase a sodium-free if available.
Once all the above preparation work is done, let’s start cooking the duck.
Per the video below, score the duck’s skin with a very sharp knife. A crosshatch pattern will facilitate the fat stored between the skin and the meat to be released easily while cooking.
- Make sure you are not going all the way thru and cut the meaty part of the duck flesh.
- Be generous when seasoning with salt and pepper on both sides of the duck breast.
- Place the duck breast skin side down on a cold skillet. This process will allow the fat side and underneath the skin to melt but not burn the skin itself.
- Leave it alone and do not touch or move for at least 5 to 7 minutes. You want to crisp the skin, and leave it alone, meaning not picking it up or moving it around in the skillet; it will allow it to form a nice golden brown crust that will detach itself naturally from the skillet.
- Check how much fat was rendered at the 7 – 8 minutes mark. Here is when I like to remove most of the fat on the skillet and continue with the cooking until the skin is the deep brown and crispy skin.
- Once it has reached 10 to 12 minutes of cooking, turn it over to cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.
- Removing the cooked duck breasts from the skillet, gently cover them loosely with aluminum foil. This will allow the breast to continue cooking yet keep all the juices inside.
Making the port and cherry sauce.
Remove all the fat from the pan. You can reserve and use it for another cooking application if need be.
- Add the minced shallots and stir. You want them to soften but not burn.
- Lower the heat and pour the Port wine into the middle of the skillet. Make sure your face is farther away from the skillet, and you do not have any loose clothing. Any time you cook with alcohol, take extra precautions. By placing the port in the middle of the skillet, the risk of fire due to splatter is lower.
- Deglaze with the help of a small spatula and then reduce; you only have a small shadow of the port in your skillet.
- Add the pitted cherries, cherry preserve, and chicken stock. Boil to reduce.
- Only use the cornstarch if your sauce is too thin. Add it to the sauce and let it thicken for a few minutes.
How to serve this duck breast recipe
You are all done and ready to enjoy it. Slice the breasts against the grain and diagonally. Spoon the cherry sauce over it and serve immediately.
Enjoy your duck served nice and warm.
The only substitution for this dish is the cherry preserve which may not be available in your local store. I have enclosed a link to purchase it below for your convenience.
However, strawberry jam can be used instead. The sweetness, flavor, and consistency are similar.
If you enjoy this dish of duck breast with Port and cherry sauce, check out these flavorful recipes:
Equipment and ingredients that I used to create this recipe
Duck Breast with Port and Cherry Sauce
- 2 pounds duck breasts 2 1 pound Muscovy or Moulard duck breasts (halved, about 2 pounds total)
- 3 shallots 3 shallots - finely minced
- 1 cup port 1 cup Port wine
- 2 cups cherries 2 cups cherries pitted
- 2 tablespoons black cherry preserve 2 tablespoons black cherry preserve
- ¼ cup chicken stock ¼ cup chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch arrowroot ½ teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with a few tablespoons water (optional)
- salt and pepper salt and pepper to season
- Using a sharp knife, score the fat covering each breast in a crosshatch pattern at about ½-inch intervals. Make sure that you go all the way through the fat but without cutting into the flesh. Salt and pepper generously the breasts on both sides.
- Place the skin down in a heavy skillet and place over a gentle heat, and cook until most of the fat is rendered and the skin is deeply browned and crispy, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the breast to the other side and raise the heat to medium-high and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the breast from the pan and place it in dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Pour off most of the fat from the pan (the original pan that the breast was cooked in and reserve the poured-off fat for another use).
- Add the shallots and stir over medium to low heat until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Increase the heat and pour in the Port wine to deglaze. Boil until the port is reduced and the pan is quite dry.
- Bring back to a boil and boil until reduced by more than half and the sauce is syrupy. If you prefer thicker sauce, add the cornstarch mixture and boil for a few minutes longer.
- Slice the breast against the grain and diagonally. Spoon the cherry sauce over the duck. Serve immediately
Giangi's Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.
Did you make this?
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