Sautéed duck breast with fresh cherries is my wife’s favorite meal, only when I cook it.

She probably has me brainwashed, so I will cook it for her, because when we dine out and she orders duck, it is always the same. “This duck is very good, but not as good as what you make for me.” Hmmm … what a set up! But I don’t mind. I really do cook a good duck, and I will share my recipe with you later.

Cooking duck has a long and prestigious history. The history of the roast duck can be traced back to as early as the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) when it was listed among the imperial dishes.

Duck also has fewer calories, 400g less sodium, and only one-fourth of the total amount of fat found in chicken meat. Duck meat is a healthy alternative and can be considered healthier than chicken. Surprise, surprise!

Peking Duck is what most people think about when duck is mentioned. Back in 1958, Donald Wentzel established Maple Leaf Farms, a small duck operation that turned into the major supplier of duck in the U.S. Chefs from across the county began creating duck recipes instead of making the traditional Peking duck that was quite a process to make.

Whole roasted duck for the holidays and duck breast recipes are very easy to prepare and taste great. Here is my wife’s favorite recipe I prepare for her, enjoy!

Roast Duck


2 each 5- to 6-ounce duck breast halves

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled butter, divided

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 large)

1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth

8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh

4 tablespoons Tawny Port


Using a small spoon, peel the skin away from the breast just enough creating a pocket, insert a teaspoon of butter and fold over. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle duck with salt and pepper. Add duck, skin side down to the skillet and cook over medium low heat until skin is browned and crisp, about 5-7 minutes.

Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to low, and cook until slightly browned remove duck breast.

Add shallots, broth, cherries and Port to skillet and stir over medium heat 1-2 minutes then add the duck breast.

Place pan in preheated oven at 325 degrees and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven. Slice duck 1/4-inch-thick; it will be pink inside but that is correct. Never cook duck well done. Fan out on plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or

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