Slow-Roasted Duck Breasts with Spiced Cherries and Three Pea Compote

Slow-Roasted Duck Breasts with Spiced Cherries and Three Pea Compote.jpg


  • 4 12-ounce (375-gram) duck breasts, excess fat trimmed from edges
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, cracked

Spiced Cherries:

  • 2 cups cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise


  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 400F.

Score skin of duck breast and season with salt, pepper and fennel seeds. Place duck, skin side down, in a cold skillet over low heat. Brown for 20 to 25 minutes, draining fat as it accumulates, or until skin is deeply browned and most of fat has been rendered. Flip over and cook 5 minutes more or until lightly browned.

Drain any remaining fat from skillet and place in the oven. Bake duck for 7 minutes or until pink in centre.

While duck is baking, combine red wine, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and star anise in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil. Add cherries and simmer for 4 minutes or until cherries are soft and flavourful. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Strain, reserving liquid and cherries separately.

Remove duck from skillet and let rest. Discard fat from skillet and place over medium heat. Pour cherry cooking liquid into skillet and bring to a boil. Boil 1 to 2 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken stock and boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce just coats the back of a spoon. Turn heat to low and swirl in butter until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Scatter pea compote (recipe below) on plates. Slice duck breasts and lay on top of peas. Drizzle duck with sauce and spoon cherries over top.



Using different types of peas makes a gorgeous presentation as well as providing a complementary flavour for the duck. In a pinch you can use frozen peas (but do not defrost before cooking). Look for the more delicate pea shoots found at farmers markets. If you buy small, delicate ones, don't cook them, but if you have larger ones cook for a minute or two until wilted.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • 4 ounces (125 grams) sugar snaps, stem ends and strings removed
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 4 ounces (125 grams) snow peas, stem ends and strings removed
  • 1 cup fresh green peas, shelled
  • 1 cup pea shoots
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint


Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and stir-fry for 1 minute or until wilted. Add sugar snaps and stock, cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add snow peas and green peas and simmer another 1 to 2 minutes or until all peas and pods are tender. There should be hardly any liquid remaining. Scatter in pea shoots and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in mint.