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Duck with Apple and Cherry Sauce

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2 (1 pound) boned duck breast halves
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 Granny Smith Apples; peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 cups red wine
1 cup Water
2 pounds fresh cherries; pitted (approximately 4 cups)
pinch ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Melt sugar in 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Increase heat to medium-high and add apples to cook, stirring frequently until softened and browned (approx. 8-minutes). Add red wine and reduce for 4-minutes. Lower heat to medium, add 1 cup water, 3 cups cherries, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Crush cherries with the back of a wooden spoon, then simmer mixture until liquid is reduced by half (approx. 15-20 minutes). Strain sauce through a fine sieve, then return to skillet. Add remaining cherries and simmer over medium head until sauce has reduced by a third (approx. 8-minutes). Set aside sauce and keep warm.

Meanwhile, score duck breast by making crosshatch incisions through the fat, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 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 6-8 minutes more, pouring off excess fat about half-way through your cooking time. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon butter into sauce. Thinly slice cooked duck and divide servings between plates. Spoon sauce over duck and serve.

Substitution: Don't like the idea of cooking with Red Wine? You can substitute Apple Juice or Chicken Stock for the Red Wine. Substitutions will produce a sweeter, or dryer alcohol-free sauce, respectively.

Makes 4 servings

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