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Duck Breasts with Cherry, Ginger, Rosemary Wine Sauce


I developed this recipe after a successful duck hunt (domestic duck will also work fine as will goose or numerous other meats). I used cabernet sauvignon but just about any dry red wine will do. A friend with a large orchard swapped me 9 pounds of cherries for some of my winter squash (her squash crop flopped that year). I served this with some roasted root veggies and winter squash, a salad and fresh, hot, buttered homemade rosemary and muenster cheese biscuits.

Rate this recipe 3.2/5 (12 Votes)


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh coarse chopped sweet cherries
  • 1/4 cup cherry infused vodka
  • 3/4 cup cabernet sauvignon wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoon homemade cherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fine grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons nut oil
  • 3 one pound each whole duck breasts
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Coarse kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Parsley sprigs
  • Fresh halved cherries


Level of difficulty Average
Cost Average budget


Step 1

Combine cherries, vodka, wine, rosemary, vinegar, ginger, garlic and sugar, set aside.

Step 2

Remove bones (and skin if desired) from breasts, cut in half. Sprinkle well with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste, rub seasonings into surface.

Step 3

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet on medium-high. Add duck to pan, cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or til a thermometer inserted in thickest part of meat reads
170 F. Put duck on a cutting board; cover with foil.

Step 4

Add cherry mixture to skillet, cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water, add to sauce and cook til thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 5

Thin slice duck, put on serving plates. Spoon cherry sauce over duck. Garnish with parsley sprigs and cherry halves, if desired.

To make both cherry vinegar and cherry infused vodka, simply quarter a few cherries and add to small jars of vodka and vinegar. Leave in a dark place for a few days and up to a couple of months, depending on intensity of flavor desired.
You can substitute other rich flavored fruits or berries for cherries (I have also used both fresh blackberries and boysenberries successfully). Also, if fresh fruits are not available, substitute frozen or dried fruits soaked in a little wine for an hour or so.

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VIDEO: Duck Breast Pastry Pockets

Who will you make these elegant duck pastry pockets for? 


  • 1 whole duck breast
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 3-4 slices ham
  • 3-4  tbsp raspberry jam
  • 3- 4 slices Muenster cheese


  1. Fry the duck breast in a pan until medium rare (or your preference) and browned on the outside.
  2. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry, and layer the ham slices  in the middle.
  3. Spread the raspberry jam over the ham slices, and follow with the Muenster cheese, and the duck breast.
  4. Moisten the sides of the pastry with water, then fold to enclose the duck. 
  5. Brush the pastry with the egg yolk, then score lightly with a knife. 
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 464°F (until the cheese is melted and the pastry is golden brown)
  7. Serve, and enjoy! 

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