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    Duck breast with agrodolce cherries and mint

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    Duck breast with agrodolce cherries and mint

    The sweet acidity of cherries pairs so well with rich, salty duck. Add in the sourness of the agrodolce and you have a truly special combination.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus resting
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes
    • Total time: 50 minutes, plus resting

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    250g cherries, pitted and halved
    25g caster sugar
    ½ star anise
    50ml red wine vinegar
    100ml red wine
    4 duck breasts, at room temperature
    4 garlic cloves
    4 sprigs thyme
    100ml Cooks’ Ingredients chicken stock
    20 mint leaves, finely shredded
    watercress or rocket, to serve

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Put the cherries in a saucepan with the sugar, star anise and 25ml vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 6-8 minutes, until the cherries have softened. Add the wine and simmer for a few minutes more until the liquid turns syrupy. Season, remove from the heat and discard the star anise. Put to one side.

    2. With the tip of a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Season generously all over and lay, skin-side down, in a cold, ovenproof frying pan. Put on the hob over a medium heat and cook slowly until the skin has turned brown and crisp (about 8 minutes). Be careful it doesn’t burn.

    3. Spoon out most of the fat and turn the duck breasts skin-side up; put a clove of garlic and sprig of thyme on each breast and transfer to the hot oven. Cook for 9-10 minutes; this should give you pink meat – give it 5 minutes more if you want it more done. Remove from the pan and leave to rest somewhere warm for 5 minutes.

    4. While the duck is resting, remove all but 1 tbsp fat from the frying pan and return the pan to the hob. Add the cherry mixture, chicken stock and remaining 25ml vinegar and bubble over a high heat until the sauce is syrupy. Slice the duck breasts lengthways and fan out on 4 plates. Stir the mint into the sauce and spoon over each breast. Serve with a tuft of watercress or rocket alongside.

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose & Partners Food, July 2019 issue. Download the Waitrose & Partners Food app for the full issue

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