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crispy duck breast with balsamic cherry sauce

CRISPY DUCK BREAST WITH BALSAMIC CHERRY SAUCE

This is one of the most fabulous Fall recipes I have in my arsenal.  Crispy Duck Breast with Balsamic Cherry Sauce was created as the entrée for a Romantic Al Fresco Dinner for Two And it was certainly a night to remember!  The romantic ambiance, an outdoor venue, some wine, a candlelit dinner… 

But I’ll tell you more about that a little later in this post!

Now let’s talk about how to cook a perfectly crispy, perfectly cooked duck breast, shall we?  

 

crispy duck breast with balsamic cherry sauce

Here’s the best process I’ve found for preparing and cooking a fabulously tasty breast of duck. Oh, and the perfect sauce to complement this gorgeous piece of poultry too.  I can tell you that my hubby is absolutely in love with this recipe for Crispy Duck Breast with Balsamic Cherry Sauce.

PREPPING THE DUCK BREASTS

  • Remove duck breasts from the refrigerator and score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern
  • Salt both sides of the meat and let it sit on a cutting board for 15-20 minutes.  A room-temperature breast will be easier to control the cooking process and final internal temperature.
  • Dry the duck breasts well with paper towels.

 

PREPPING THE PANS

 Use only stainless or cast-iron pan (non-stick is a NO-NO) for even cooking and crispy skin.

  • Thick-skinned, fatty breastsAdd 2 tsp. duck fat or oil to a COLD pan; place breasts in, skin side down and smear the oil over entire pan; turn on heat MEDIUM-HIGH, OR
  • Thin-skinned, thinner breastsHeat pan over HIGH HEAT for 1 minute; Add 2 Tbsp. duck fat or oil to pan and heat for 90 seconds (don’t let it smoke); Place breasts skin-side down in hot pan.

 

crispy duck breast with balsamic cherry sauce

After a minute or two of cooking, you’ll see that the ends of the skins, or “tails” will contract upwards.  Use tongs to press the tails down to brown them for about 60 seconds or so.  This will ensure evenly browned and crispy skin.

 

COOKING THE CRISPY DUCK BREAST WITH BALSAMIC CHERRY SAUCE

LET THE DUCK COOK FAST & UNDISTURBED

Now the duck is cooking at a fast sizzle and CAN’T be disturbed.  Three-quarters of the total cooking time is done oncrispy duck breast with balsamic cherry sauce the skin side. 

For a lovely MEDIUM/MEDIUM-RARE cooked duck breast:

  • SMALL, THINNER BREASTS3 minutes on skin side for small breasts
  • MEDIUM SIZED WOOD/WIGEON BREASTS4-5 minutes on skin side
  • LARGE MALLARD OR DOMESTIC BREASTS5-8 minutes on skin side

 

WHEN TO TURN THE BREASTS OVER?

As the allotted skin-side cooking time approaches listen to the pan for a change in the “sizzle”.  When it slows down, that’s when you want to turn the duck breasts over.

NAN’S TIP:  As soon as you turn the skin side up, give it a sprinkling with kosher salt for yummy, crispy skin.

Cook the second side of the duck breasts for much less time:

  • SMALL, THINNER BREASTS1-2 minutes on meat side
  • MEDIUM SIZED WOOD/WIGEON BREASTS – 3-4 minutes on meat side
  • LARGE MALLARD OR DOMESTIC BREASTS – 4-6 minutes on meat side

 

ONE LAST STEP, BUT IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT!

crispy duck breast with balsamic cherry sauceLastly, stand the breasts on their “thick” side, leaning against the side of the pan, enabling  the meat to cook more evenly.  Let them cook for 30 to 90 seconds on their sides depending on the size of your breasts.

GIVE THE DUCK A REST

Remove the duck breasts from the pan and let them rest on a cutting board, SKIN SIDE UP. 

  • SMALL, THINNER BREASTS1-2 minutes
  • MEDIUM SIZED WOOD/WIGEON BREASTS – 5 minutes
  • LARGE MALLARD OR DOMESTIC BREASTS – up to 10 minutes

 

SLICING THE DUCK BREASTS

Duck breasts can be sliced from either end, but I usually start from the thicker side.

If serving the duck with a sauce, place the slices domino-style ON TOP of the sauce to keep the skin as crisp as possible.

 

BALSAMIC CHERRY SAUCE – Take This Recipe Right Over The Top!

crispy duck breast with balsamic cherry sauce

The combination of a perfectly cooked piece of duck with a fruity sauce, is always a delectable bite-full.  When you try this Balsamic Cherry Sauce recipe, you’ll know what perfection can taste like.

I’ve used a combination of both dried and fresh dark cherries to make a deeply-fruity sauce.  And then it’s taken over the top by a balsamic vinegar reduction that lends a depth of flavor that’s magical.  

And don’t stop at duck either, it’s also incredible with chicken and pork too!  Domino slices of a gorgeous pork tenderloin on top of some Balsamic Cherry Sauce, and you’ll understand its fruity versatility!

Now let’s talk about how to put this whole menu and evening together!

 

ROMANTIC AL FRESCO DINNER FOR TWO

romantic al fresco dinner for two

I don’t do “cookie cutter” parties.  So why would I want to plan a “cookie cutter” Romantic Al Fresco Dinner for Two?

The answer is, I wouldn’t!  I’ve read tons of articles touting 25 Ideas for a Romantic Evening.  50+ Great Ways to Be Romantic. Or even 100 Romantic Gifts to Give Your Hubby.  Whew, they make me tired just reading the titles!

I can’t help but think like a Lifestyle Diva.  When I plan a party, my creativity and personal touches are what makes them truly special.  And that’s exactly how I want you to approach your Romantic Al Fresco Dinner for Two.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE POST:  ROMANTIC AL FRESCO DINNER FOR TWO

And here’s the rest of the menu:

GARLICY SNAILS FOR TWO

MUSHROOM ISRAELI COUSCOUS PILAF

ROASTED STONE FRUITS AND ICE CREAM IN PUFF PASTRY

 

HERE’S SOME MORE ROMANTIC RECIPES!

chocolate dipped glitter heart cake in valentine's mugWhite Chocolate Dalmatian Mousse

 

Salmon Dill Mousse

 

Mocha Hazelnut Specialty Coffee

 

Pink Panna Cotta with White Chocolate and Cherries + Valentine’s “Love Tokens” PDF

 

Chilled Mussels in Tangy Vinaigrette

 

Chocolate Dipped Glitter Hearts

 

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And while you’re at it, come join the gang in our Facebook group and get in on the gabfest at, The Fab Life!  That’s where we show off our triumphs and share our pursuit of “the good life” with each other all week long.  

 

 
 


 

 

crispy duck breast with balsamic cherry sauce

Crispy Duck Breast with Balsamic Cherry Sauce

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Duck breasts pan-seared to a crispy finish served with a fabulous Balsamic Cherry Sauce. Perfect for a romantic dinner for two!

Ingredients

  • 2 Duck breasts, skin attached
  • Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • Duck fat, olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

PREPPING DUCK BREASTS

  1. Remove duck breasts from the refrigerator and score the skin
    in a cross-hatch pattern, avoiding cutting the meat. This will help render more fat resulting in crispy skin.
  2. Salt both sides of the meat and let it sit on a cutting board for 15-20 minutes.  A room-temperature breast will be easier to control the cooking process and final internal temperature.
  3. Dry the duck breasts well with paper towels.

PREPPING THE PANS

  1. Use only stainless or cast-iron pan (non-stick is a NO-NO) for even cooking and crispy skin.
  2. Thick-skinned, fatty breastsAdd 2 tsp. duck fat or oil to a COLD pan; place breasts in, skin side down andsmear the oil over entire pan; turn on heat MEDIUM-HIGH, OR
  3. Thin-skinned, thinner breastsHeat pan over HIGH HEAT for 1 minute;  Add 2 Tbsp. duck fat or oil to pan and heat for 90 seconds (don’t let it smoke); Place breasts skin-side down in hot pan.
  4. After a minute or two of cooking, you’ll see that the ends of the skins, or “tails” will contract upwards.  Use tongs to press the tails down to brown them for about 60 seconds or so.  This will ensure evenly browned and crispy skin.

COOKING THE DUCK BREASTS

LET THE DUCK COOK FAST & UNDISTURBED

  1. Now the duck is cooking at a fast sizzle and CAN’T be disturbed.  Three-quarters of the total cooking time is done on the skin side. For a lovely MEDIUM/MEDIUM-RARE cooked duck breast:
  2. SMALL, THINNER BREASTS - 3 minutes on skin side for small breasts·        
    MEDIUM SIZED WOOD/WIGEON BREASTS - 4-5minutes on skin side LARGE MALLARD OR DOMESTIC BREASTS5-8minutes on skin side

WHEN TO TURN THE BREASTS OVER?

  1. As the allotted skin-side cooking time approaches listen to
    the pan for a change in the “sizzle”.  When it slows down, that’s when you want to turn the duck breasts over. TIP:  As soon as you turn the skin side up, give it a sprinkling with kosher salt for yummy, crispy skin.
  2. Cook the second side of the duck breasts for much less time: ·        
    SMALL, THINNER BREASTS1-2minutes on meat side·        
    MEDIUM SIZED WOOD/WIGEON BREASTS – 3-4minutes on meat side LARGE MALLARD OR DOMESTIC BREASTS – 4-6minutes on meat side

ONE LAST STEP, BUT IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT!

  1. Lastly, stand the breasts on their “thick” side, leaning against the side of the pan, enabling the meat to cook more evenly.  Let cook for 30 to 90 seconds depending on the side of your breasts.

GIVE THE DUCK A REST

Remove the duck breasts from the pan and let them rest on a cutting board, SKIN SIDE UP.  ·        
SMALL, THINNER BREASTS1-2 minutes ·        
MEDIUM SIZED WOOD/WIGEON BREASTS – 5 minutes·        
LARGE MALLARD OR DOMESTIC BREASTS – up to 10 minutes

SLICING THE DUCK BREASTS

  1. Duck breasts can be sliced from either end, but I usually start from the thicker side. If serving the duck with a sauce, place the slices domino-style ON TOP of the sauce to keep the skin as crisp as possible.


BALSAMIC CHERRY SAUCE

  1. In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and honey and place over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and reduce to 1 cup liquid, about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add dried and fresh cherries, stirring to combine.  Continue to cook at a simmer for 10-12 more minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Add thyme and salt, cook for 1 more minute and remove from heat.
  4. Serve warm with pan-seared duck, roasted pork or chicken.

Notes

TIP: For a smooth sauce, cool the sauce for 5 minutes, whirl in blender until smooth and reheat over low heat before serving.

Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1047Total Fat 47gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 33gCholesterol 333mgSodium 458mgCarbohydrates 89gFiber 3gSugar 77gProtein 61g

Calorie counts and nutritional information will vary according to the amount of sauce and other ingredients consumed.

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