4 duck breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 cup duck or chicken stock
Preheat oven to 350 F
Peel skin off duck breasts and place on a baking sheet. Cover with a piece of parchment paper. Place another baking sheet on the parchment, weighing down the skin. Place a baking weight or a heavy pot on top of the top baking sheet to keep the breast flat. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Flip skin, drain excess oil from baking sheet into a small bowl. Replace parchment, baking sheet and weight on top of the skin, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until skin is crisp.
Heat 3 tbsp of reserved duck fat in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Season breasts with salt and pepper, then sear on each side for 2 minutes. Pop skillet into oven and bake for 8 minutes or until pink. Let breasts sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
Combine red wine and cranberry juice on a pot over high heat. Let it boil until thickened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add stock and reduce until thick, another 4 to 8 minutes.
Slice duck breasts, serve with skin, and sauce drizzled around.
Suggested Wine Pairings
Normally I would recommend pinot noir with seared duck breast, the wine’s jammy berry essence complementing the gamy meat like cherry sauce. But there are other considerations in a menu that included spicy mashed squash and garlicky kale salad. A pricey pinot’s finer fragrances would likely fall victim to the punchy sides here. Give the job to red Burgundy’s baby brother, Beaujolais (made from the gamay grape), or a Canadian gamay. It’s still got the bright berry thing going on, but it’s usually crisper and more straightforward, a fine-feathered friend for this fowl feast. - Beppi Crosariol