Waterfowl and fruit go together so well, and tart cherries are a nice complement to a duck’s fattiness and dark flavor
Every time I eat wild game is a special occasion, but being able to present one whole duck on each person’s plate is truly spectacular. Teals are the perfect size for such occasion, and along with roasted fall squash and greens, this recipe says “autumn” to me. Save this teal with tart cherries recipe for a wild game Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Your guests will be delighted.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 whole teal duck, skin on
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Splash of brandy, cognac or whisky
- ¼ cup dried, pitted tart cherries
- ¾ cup unsalted beef broth
- 2 tablespoon cold salted butter
1. Pat ducks dry with paper towels. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff 2 sprigs of thyme and 1 sprig of rosemary into each duck. Prick the ducks’ skin all over with a toothpick; this will help the fatty skin render.
2. Heat olive oil in a wide, deep pan over medium-high heat. If necessary, dry ducks again with paper towels. Next, brown ducks until golden all over. (Be patient and do not overcrowd the pan. You may have to do this step in two batches.) Remove browned ducks to a plate and set aside. Next add dried cherries, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig of rosemary and a splash of alcohol to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Once alcohol evaporates, add beef broth and return all ducks to the pan. Cover the pan and allow ducks to simmer in the pan for 5-7 minutes or cook to your liking; I suggest not cooking the ducks past medium.
3. Remove ducks and set aside to rest in foil. Uncover the lid of the pan and allow broth to reduce by half. Take off heat. Discard rosemary and thyme, and stir in cold butter. Sprinkle cherries and sauce over ducks. Serve with a light salad and roasted squash.
Any tart or sour dried cherry variety will do; I chose the Montmorency cherry for its availability, intense cherry flavor and pleasant pucker factor. Not to mention, it tastes great by itself, too. Serve this dish a dark, fruity wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Garnacha or Tempranillo blend.