Roast duck with cranberry and sour cherry sauce

This recipe for roast duck with cranberry and sour cherry sauce is a great entertaining dish as it looks and tastes impressive but is easy to make. Use fresh cranberries if they’re in season, and make double of the sauce to use with other meats.


  • duck breasts 6
  • shallots 4, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • bay leaves 2
  • star anise 1
  • orange one piece of zest peeled off as a thick strip
  • light brown muscovado sugar 2 tbsp
  • red wine 100ml
  • chicken stock 250ml
  • dried sour cherries or dried cherries 50g
  • cranberries 50g
  • red wine vinegar 1 tbsp


  1. First make the sauce. Fry the shallots in a little oil for 5 minutes or until softened but not colored. Add the bay leaves, star anise, orange zest and sugar, followed by the red wine and stock, then bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cherries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly thickened, about another 10 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and heat until they pop. Add the vinegar.
  2. Cut slashes through the skin and fat of each duck breast, making sure you don’t cut into the flesh. Rub the skin with plenty of seasoning. Put skin-side down in a cold frying pan and turn the heat to high. Once it is very hot turn the heat down a little and fry for 8 minutes or until very crisp and brown and the fat has started to melt out from under the skin. Tip out excess fat as you go along.
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  4. Turn the breasts over and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until they feel firm to the touch but not too solid – they will be pink in the middle. Rest for 5 minutes while you reheat the sauce (add a splash more water if you need to) and fish out the bay leaves, star anise and orange. Slice each breast and serve with the sauce and roast potatoes.

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