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The meaty breasts of moulard ducks work best in this recipe.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 pounds fresh cherries (about 4 cups), pitted
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Two 1-pound boned moulard duck breast halves
Melt the sugar in 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the apple and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce for 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add 1 cup water, 3 cups cherries, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Crush the cherries with a wooden spoon, then simmer the mixture until the liquid is reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, then return to the skillet. Add the remaining cherries and simmer over medium heat until the sauce has reduced by a third, about 8 minutes more. Set the sauce aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, score the duck breasts by making crosshatch incisions through the fat, then season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add the duck breasts, fat side down, and cook until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp, about 12 minutes. Turn and continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes more. (It is best to pour off excess fat midway through the cooking process; fat can be strained, stored in a sealed container and reused 2 to 3 times to fry potatoes, mushrooms or oeufs farcis à la périgourdine; see Oeufs Farcis à la Périgourdine recipe.)
Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon butter into the sauce. Thinly slice the duck, then divide among 4 plates. Spoon the sauce over the duck and serve.
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Recipe reprinted by permission of World Publication, LLC. All rights reserved.
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