That might not be the spiffiest of titles but you know what they say…don’t judge a book by its title…or something like that.
I know I’ve told you before that I’m not a huge fan of fruits being used in savoury dishes but that my sticky duck and date dish definitely changed my mind. And this too is most certainly an exception to my rule. So perhaps, on closer inspection, this means that I am of the opinion that it is duck that goes particularly well with fruit? Maybe that’s what I think. So well that it can even convince the most ardent of fruit in savoury dish loathers to change their mind.
This cherry sauce is the real star of this show and it’s such a simple sauce. It’s one of those culinary treasures that tastes absolutely amazing, is seriously easy to make but that also makes people think you must be some sort of culinary wizard. And we all want to be wizards. Obvs.
So if you do want people to think you must have secretly been attending Hogwarts school of Culinary Wizardry make this duck and cherry sauce.
This recipe for this sauce isn’t prescriptive. ie. it isn’t one of those recipes you have to follow to the letter. It involves phrases like ‘a glug here’, ‘a dollop of that there’. And I like it all the more for that. It’s one of those recipes where you don’t have to worry about the exact amounts, follow it vaguely and it will still be delicious!
- 1 bag of around 200g dried sour cherries (I get mine in Sainsbury's)
- 1 jar of maraschino cherry jam (again, I have found this in Sainsbury's and Waitrose)
- generous glug of red wine
- 4 x duck breasts
- First things first, lets focus on the sauce. You need to soak the cherries. They need at least a couple of hours, so if I am having this for supper, I like to just get the cherries soaking in the morning. You can't oversoak them so it's best to just get them done and dusted.
- Simply take a bowl, saucepan, jug or pretty much any kind of dish. Tip the cherries in and then pour over a lovely glug of red wine until the cherries are completely covered. The aim of this is to get the cherries terribly drunk. No that's not strictly true , but I do like the idea of a drunken cherry. Soaking dried fruit rehydrates it, so the fruit will get deliciously plump and happy.
- Then when you are ready to eat, score the skin of the duck and sprinkle salt on the duck skin. Place the duck breasts skin side down into the pan and turn up the heat - then don't move them for about five to ten minutes until the skin is gorgeously golden and crisp, then flip them over and cook for another couple of minutes.
- The duck should be slightly springy when pressed. This will make a beautifully rare but perfectly cooked duck breast but you can obviously cook it for a few more minutes if you like it more well done. When the duck is done, simply remove from the heat, put on a plate and leave to rest for a few minutes.
- While the duck is cooking, carry on with your sauce. Drain off most of the wine from the cherries, leaving just a few tablespoons worth in with the cherries. Then simple dollop in the jam and gently heat this through. The jam will melt as it heats and you will be left with a ever so slightly runny, jammy, cherr-ified sauce. Utterly delicious.
- Slice the duck into slivers and serve with my amazing broccoli with a few frozen soya beans thrown in. It's great with crushed new potatoes, brown rice or quinoa.