Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

A big component to my joy of traveling is being able to try new food and get inspiration for new dishes at home. My husband and I aren’t big shoppers, we’d rather budget for experiences. I prefer having a memory of a lovely meal in some far off locale than fill the house with stuff. Though stuff seems to multiply anyway, not sure what happens there! A couple of decades ago I was in Scotland on the west coast. I had a meal that I remember til this day because not only was it delicious but the simple flavours just came together to be amazing. It was Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce.

Prior to this I’d never had duck. I don’t think it was something, at the time, readily available in the States. I was also not a fan of cherries as it was difficult to get really fresh cherries and the flavour that gets stuck in your mind is the awful chemical cherry flavour of ice creams or medicine. Seriously, who taste tests those? But this was a revelation.

Technique for Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

The key to this, as is for most dishes, is fresh ingredients. I love being able to pop into my garden for the fresh herbs and veg.

Coarsely chop the cherries and finely chop the garlic. I really wish I had a cherry depitter but it’s not big deal to cut away the cherry from the pit, just slows it down a bit. Start cooking the cherry in a small pan with a bit of water.

Prep the duck by scoring the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place into a skillet face down to start with. Keep the heat just under medium so the fat renders down as much as possible while giving you that really nice sear. Every few minutes flip the duck so it cooks evenly without burning either side.

Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice to the cherries. Let that simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the butter, sea salt and pepper. Stir well.

I do like a crispy duck. Cook the duck to at least medium. Allow to rest for several minutes before slicing.

Slice the duck and place over a bed of greens. Spoon over the sauce. We also roasted potatoes in duck fat. That is next level good.

Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

Seared Duck with cherries, garlic and thyme

Course Main Course
Keyword Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 duck breast
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup water 2-3oz
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


Cooking the Seared Duck

  1. Score the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

  2. In a skillet, put the duck face down. Keep the heat just below medium so the fat renders out without burning the duck. Flip the duck every few minutes so it cooks evenly. Cook until it is at least medium in the centre. Let it rest for several minutes before slicing.

Cooking the Cherry Sauce

  1. Sautè the cherries in the water for a few minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice. Simmer for a few minutes to cook the garlic.

  3. Add the butter and stir well. Reduce the liquid by about a third.

Serving the dish

  1. Slice the duck and arrange it over a bed of greens.

  2. Spoon the sauce over the duck.

  3. Serve with potatoes roasted in duck fat.

Duck and Leeks – Sounds Like a Good Pub Name…

I love the old pub names you can find and the history behind them.  And I get a kick out of the signs.  I can picture a pub named the Duck and Leek and there would be some historical story going back to the mists of time.  Unlike my dish.  It came about 2 days ago because I was in the mood for some leeks.  🙂

I’ve mentioned a few times this year that the garden has been a bit wonky.  The growing aspect has been all over the place.  The leeks are no exception.  The previous years they have grown to be about 5 feet long and almost 3″ in diameter.  Loads of meals but this year they are about 2 feet and about an inch in diameter.  And we didn’t do anything different!  Fortunately the flavour is still there.  So I thought they would go well with the duck.

To prep I sliced and cleaned the leeks. Dirt gets in all the crevices of those little buggers!

Duck and leek 1 2013

Next I score the fat on the duck and season with salt and pepper.  In a hot skillet I place the duck fat side down.  Once there is a bit of a sear I turn the heat down to slowly render the fat.

Duck and leek 2 2013

Once it’s rendered enough turn and sear the meat side.  Do this for the short sides as well so you’ll have to hold it with tongs.  Remove to rest and keep it warm while the leeks are being cooked.

Duck and leek 3 2013

Next I drain about half the duck fat otherwise it would be overwhelming.  I add about a tablespoon of butter to melt.

Duck and leek 4 2013

I chopped up about 4 cloves of garlic and sauteed them until they started to turn a little golden.

Duck and leek 5 2013

Toss in the leeks and saute until cooked.

Duck and leek 6 2013

While this cooks I slice the duck.  This particular duck was a bit stubborn as it stayed on the rare side.

Duck and leek 7 2013

Easily fixed as I added the duck to the skillet with 1/2 cup of Pinot Grigio and simmered for a couple of minutes to reduce down and to just finish off the duck.

Duck and leek 8 2013

I cooked up some rice pilaf and served the duck and leek over the rice.

Duck and leek 9 2013

Got a thumbs up from the kids.  And the dogs were thrilled because they got the excess duck fat.  Happy campers all round!