Roast duck breasts with port, wine and cherry sauce

A little late in posting, but for those interested: here’s the recipe for the dinner I prepared last Friday (our first dinner in 2016)… 😋

Roast duck with port wine and cherry sauce

(Recipe adapted from Joel Mielle @

4 x 500 g duck breast filets

1/2 tbsp mixed spice

3 brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped

2 or 3 carrots, roughly chopped

1 whole knob of garlic, cut in half

2 bay leaves

a few sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1/2 tbsp dried thyme)

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tbsp flour

1 cup port wine

1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Franc, but I guess Merlot or any other red wine will do)

1 jar/can of pitted Morello sour cherries

salt and pepper, to season

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  • Wash the filets with cold water and pat dry.
  • Using a sharp knife, score the skin in diamond patterns, taking care not to cut too deep (avoid cutting the meat itself).
  • Place the mixed spice in a small bowl. Mix with a pinch of salt and some crushed black pepper. Mix well.
  • Sprinkle the spices over the filets, massaging well into the cuts as well as underneath the filets.
  • Place the filets on a roasting dish fitted with a wire rack (the filets should not touch the bottom of the dish) and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the filets (and the wire rack) from the roasting dish and set aside.
  • Add the onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves and thyme into the roasting dish, mixing them until they are well-coated with the duck fat in the dish.
  • Return the filets onto the roasting dish, resting them this time directly on top of the root vegetables instead of the wire rack. Bake for a further 40-45 minutes.
  • When the duck is cooked, remove from the roasting dish and set aside to rest. Keep the filets warm.
  • Meanwhile, de-glace the roasting dish with 3 cups of water. Let it simmer on the stove for 15 minutes under low heat.
  • Strain the de-glaced liquid from the roasting dish into a bowl. Separate the juices from the fat (the fat will float on top while the juices settle at the bottom; you can spoon the fats off from the juices). Set aside.

For the sauce:

  • Place the sugar in a dry saucepan and caramalize over medium heat until golden to deep brown in color (not too dark though).
  • Add the port wine, then the red wine and reduce until about 3/4 of original volume.
  • Open the jar/can of Morello cherries and strain the juice into the simmering sauce. Keep the cherries aside for later.
  • Add the duck juices into the simmering sauce. Stir and continue reducing.
  • In the meantime, place the flour in a mixing bowl with one tablespoon of the duck fat. Mix well.
  • Add the duck fat roux to the simmering sauce. Whisk a little to mix. Check the seasoning (add a little salt and/or pepper, if needed) and continue reducing until the sauce becomes glossy.
  • Finally, add the cherries to the sauce and continue simmering for two more minutes before serving.

To serve:

  • Cut the roasted duck filets into slices about 5 mm thick.
  • Serve with the port, wine and cherry sauce, and your preferred side dishes (in our case, these were wilted spinach and a simple mushroom and rice pilaf).

Roast duck with port wine and cherry sauce

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