4 x 225 g duck breasts, skin on
freshly ground black pepper
250 ml chicken stock
250 ml port
Few sprigs of thyme
200 g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
20 g cold butter, cut into cubes
1. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the skin of the duck breasts, then rub over with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-based pan over low heat. Add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and leave for about 10 minutes until the fat is nearly all extracted and the skin is golden brown and crisp.
2. Meanwhile, put the chicken stock, port and thyme into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it bubble away until the mixture is reduced to a third, which will take 10-15 minutes. Fish out the thyme sprigs, then add the halved cherries and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
3. Turn up the heat, turn over the duck breasts and cook the flesh side for 3-4 minutes. The meat should feel slightly springy when pressed if you want it cooked to medium. When ready, remove to a plate and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
4. Gently reheat the cherry sauce and add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking until it has melted before adding the next piece. The sauce will turn rich and glossy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Slice the duck breasts thickly lengthways and fan out on to warmed plates. Spoon over the cherry sauce to serve.
Blackwood Ridge Pinot Noir (2008)
Held in high regard by all and considered the finest wine varietal in the world, this Pinot Noir from Blackwood Ridge does the vines’ name and reputation proud. Crafted from vines grown in the Strathbogie Ranges of Victoria you will be forgiven for a hint of sadness when you learn that this estate produces so little of this excellent wine.