Herb-Rubbed Duck with Tart Cherry and Sage Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Fresh bay leaves, divided use – 8
Fresh rosemary leaves – 1/4 cup
Fresh thyme leaves – 1/4 cup
Juniper berries – 4 tsp.
Orange zest – 1/2 orange
Salt -2 tsp.
Freshly ground black pepper – 2 tsp.
Whole duck – 2
Vegetable oil – 2 Tbsp.
Small onion, coarsely chopped – 1
Small carrot, coarsely chopped – 1
Celery stalk, coarsely chopped – 1
Thyme sprigs – 6
Dry red wine – 2 cups
Shallot, finely chopped – 1
Dried tart cherries – 1 cup
Fresh sage, chopped – 2 Tbsp.
Fresh thyme, chopped – 1 tsp.
Balsamic vinegar – 2 tsp.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper – as needed


  1. Remove center vein of bay leaves and place 6 in food processor with rosemary, thyme, juniper, orange zest, salt and pepper to make a paste; set aside.
  2. Remove breast and legs from duck; reserve carcass. Score skin on breasts. Rub herb paste on duck parts and marinate overnight in refrigerator.
  3. Heat oil and brown carcasses, pouring off fat. Add water to make stock and add onion, carrot, celery, thyme sprig and remaining 2 bay leaves. Simmer 2 hours; strain.
  4. Add wine, shallot, and cherries to stock. Reduce to 2 cups.
  5. Roast legs in preheated 425F oven, turning legs to brown, about 25 minutes; keep warm
  6. Place breasts skin side down in hot sauté pan, and render fat over medium low heat, 10 minutes, until crispy. Turn over and cook 2 to 5 more minutes for medium rare.
  7. Bring sauce to simmer and stir in chopped sage, thyme and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Slice breast on diagonal and fan out neck to leg. Pour sauce on and around duck.