Duck Breasts with Port Finishing Sauce

Duck Breasts with Port Finishing Sauce

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2
This recipe calls for Muscovy duck breasts. Because this breed originated in a warm climate, the Muscovy duck needs no fat for protection against the cold and is therefore exceptionally lean, meaty and flavorful. Serve the duck with soft polenta or mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious sauce.


  • 2 boneless Muscovy duck breast halves, 1 3⁄4 to 2 lb.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup port
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cherries
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallots
  • 6 Tbs. port finishing sauce*


Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts by making a crisscross pattern, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Season the duck on both sides with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the port and dried cherries to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to 1 Tbs., about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large, ovenproof, nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, arrange the duck breasts, skin side down, and cook until the skin is evenly golden and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the duck breasts over and spoon off the excess fat from the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more. To check for doneness, make an incision with a sharp knife; the breast should be reddish pink for medium-rare and very pale pink for medium. Transfer the duck breasts to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Pour off the excess fat from the pan. Set the pan over medium heat, add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cherries and their liquid along with the port finishing sauce. Stir until the sauce is just heated through, about 1 minute; do not reduce the sauce. Cut the duck breasts on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick and arrange on warmed plates. Pour the sauce over the duck and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

* Available at Williams-Sonoma stores.
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