Herb-Rubbed Duck with Tart Cherry and Sage Sauce
Herb-Rubbed Duck with Tart Cherry and Sage Sauce might be just the main course you are searching for. This gluten free and dairy free recipe serves 8. One serving contains 5844 calories, 164g of protein, and 562g of fat. Only From preparation to the plate, this recipe takes roughly 45 minutes. A mixture of onion, full-bodied wine, rosemary leaves, and a handful of other ingredients are all it takes to make this recipe so flavorful. To use up the vegetable oil you could follow this main course with the Blueberry Coffee Cake #SundaySupper as a dessert.
Herb rub. If using fresh bay leaves, pull out the center veins.
Combine all the ingredients for the herb rub in a spice mill or blender and grind to a coarse paste.
Cut up the ducks by removing the 2 legs and the 2 boneless breasts (with skin) from each bird. Reserve the necks and carcasses. Score the skin on the breasts by drawing a very sharp knife across the skin in a diagonal crisscross pattern, 4 or 5 lines in each direction. Be careful to cut only into the skin and not into the flesh. This helps render the fat quickly when the breasts are cooked. Rub the duck breasts and legs with the herb paste as evenly as you can, rubbing some inside the scored cuts.
Put them in a medium bowl, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or as long as 24 hours.
Cut the wings off the duck carcasses, remove as much skin and fat as comes off easily, and cut the carcasses in half (you can bend them until they snap, then cut between bones, or use a cleaver). You should now have 4 wings, 4 pieces of carcass, and 2 necks.
Heat the oil in a large (6- to 8-quart) heavy-bottomed pot over high heat.
Add these 10 pieces to the pot and brown them for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once or twice. This step is important for building flavor in the stock but not all of the surfaces need to be evenly brown.
Pour off the fat that has accumulated in the pan, then pour in enough cold water to barely cover the bones. Bring the stock to a boil, turn the heat to very low, and skim off any fat or foam that rises to the surface.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme, and bay leaves and gently simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 hours.
Sauce. Strain the stock, discard the bones, and return the stock to the pot.
Add the wine, shallot, and cherries. Boil the sauce until it is thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, 45 to 60 minutes. (The sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Roasting the legs. Preheat the oven to 425°F. About 45 minutes before serving, heat a large (10- to 12-inch) ovenproof skillet (cast iron works well) over medium-high heat.
Pour in a film of vegetable oil and heat.
Add the duck legs skin side down and cook until the skin side browns, 4 to 5 minutes. Without turning the legs over, put the pan in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the duck legs and continue to roast until the skin is very brown and crisp and the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes longer.
Remove them from the oven and let rest on a plate in a warm spot.
Sautéeing the breasts. When the legs have been in the oven for 20 minutes, begin to cook the breasts.
Pour a thin film of oil into another large (12-inch) skillet and heat it over medium heat until hot.
Add the duck breasts skin side down, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let cook slowly and undisturbed. After 5 minutes, about 1/2 inch of fat will have rendered into the pan, which will help render the remaining fat from under the skin. Continue to cook the breasts until the skin is very brown and crisp, another 5 to 10 minutes. If the rendered fat rises above the level of the skin and the duck meat begins to be submerged, pour some of it off into a small bowl. This will prevent the breast meat from overcooking before the skin is crisp. When the skin is crisp but not blackened, turn the breasts over and cook just 1 minute for rare or 2 to 5 minutes for medium-rare to medium. The meat should feel firm but still springy and an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the breast should register 120°F to 125°F for rare, 130°F to 135°F for medium-rare to medium. The temperature will continue to rise about 10° as they rest.
Transfer them to the plate with the legs and let them sit on the back of the stove for 4 to 5 minutes before carving.
Finishing. Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir in the chopped sage, thyme, and balsamic vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Arrange the duck legs on a warmed platter or individual plates. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the breasts on a diagonal 3/8 inch thick and arrange the slices in a fan shape leaning against the legs.
Pour the sauce over and around the duck.
Resembling giant raisins, sweet and sour varieties of dried cherries from Yakima Valley in Washington are exciting and relatively new ingredients. Dried sweet cherries have a prunelike flavor, but the tart (sour or pie) cherries, which are usually processed with sugar, have a brilliant tangy flavor. When simmered with wine and duck stock, they make a balanced, savory, and full-flavored sauce that plays beautifully off the crispy citrus-rubbed duck in this recipe.
The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.