We have enjoyed many different preparations of duck, especially during our time and Europe. Although restaurants here in Colorado tend to offer various meals of game, it isn’t necessarily easy to find them in the store. While we were living in Frankfurt, our butcher always had lamb, duck, goose, and other gamier items available, but unfortunately it just isn’t the case here. We were able to get a whole duck, but since we were just cooking for the two of us, we decided to cut it into parts which gave us a boneless duck breast and a duck thigh with the leg still on. We often cut up a whole chicken, but duck is a little more difficult, although worth the effort. By cutting the duck into pieces, it allows you to pan sear it as opposed to roasting it and that makes it even more tender. We froze one half of the duck to have at a later date and cooked up the breast and thigh for dinner. Duck goes really well with fruits such as orange or cherry, so we made a cherry compote to go with the duck. The compote (or sauce) was more savory than sweet, which is what we prefer. It was extremely delicious and definitely reminded us of duck that we’ve eaten during several of our travels.
- 1/2 Duck – breast deboned and thigh deboned with the exception of the leg (if you can get two deboned breasts, that would work as well)
- 1 Shallot – chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves – minced
- 1 cup Cherries – fresh or frozen, pitted
- 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
- 2 tbsp Cherry Preserves
- 2 tsp Honey – preferably fresh or organic
- 2 tsp Rosemary – chopped
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Using a very sharp knife, score the skin of the duck. Season the duck with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Let the duck come to room temperature. While the duck is coming up to room temperature, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small pot. Add the shallots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute just to let the garlic bloom. Add the cherries, cherry preserves, chicken stock, honey, and the remaining teaspoon of rosemary. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes while the duck is cooking. When the sauce has slightly thickened, add the butter and lemon juice and keep warm until the duck is finished. Heat the vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat. Place the duck skin-side down and don’t touch it until the skin has released from the bottom of the skillet, at least 5 to 10 minutes. Once the skin is browned and the fat has rendered, turn the heat down to medium and flip the duck over to finish cooking, about another 8 to 10 minutes (or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees). To serve, drizzle the cherry compote over the duck and place the rest in a bowl for people to add more as they eat.