Recipes Main Courses Poultry and Game Duck Breasts with Black Cherry Sauce
Duck Breasts with Black Cherry Sauce

Duck Breasts with Black Cherry Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 Serves 4.
Available at many high-quality butcher shops, boneless duck breasts are ideally suited for grilling—the perfect way to eliminate some of their fat. Serve the duck rosy pink, drizzled with the savory cherry sauce.


  • 2 boneless whole duck breasts, each about
      1 3/4 lb.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

For black cherry sauce:

  • 1 jar (12 oz.) black cherry preserves
  • 1/2 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. snipped fresh chives


Cut each duck breast in half. Using a sharp knife, cut several long slashes in the skin, taking care not to cut through to the meat. Place the breasts in a shallow nonaluminum dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer.

In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, orange juice, ginger, salt and pepper flakes. Spoon half of the oil mixture over the duck breasts. Turn over the breasts and spoon the remaining marinade over the top. Cover and refrigerate, turning the breasts several times, for 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cherry preserves, chili sauce, stock, hoisin sauce and mustard. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Position the grill rack 4 to 6 inches above the fire.

Place the duck breasts, skin sides down, on the rack. Cook until the skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn over the breasts and continue to cook until medium-rare, about 3 minutes more. To test, press the meat; it will give slightly, then bounce back. Brush both sides of the breasts with a little of the black cherry sauce and grill for 1 minute on each side to glaze. Transfer the breasts to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat the cherry sauce over low heat.

Carve the duck breasts on the diagonal across the grain into thin slices. Arrange on a warmed platter and spoon the hot cherry sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the chives and serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Backyard Barbecues, by Phillip Stephen Schulz (Time-Life Books, 1999).