Duck with cherry wine (canard au vin de cerise)

There’s a guy at market that sells a range of cherry wines. The whole range is delicious. He runs a cherry farm you see, at Torry Hill Orchard in Young, NSW. I bought the cherry port several months back, and have been thoroughly enjoying it. In addition to enjoying a little tipple, I’ve poured it over ice cream with grated dark chocolate, and reduced it with duck stock to make a great sauce for crispy skin duck breasts. The flavour profile of the range works particularly well with duck.

Duck with cherry wine

This week, I bought a bottle of the standard cherry wine to make a dish I’ve adapted from the traditional French dish, coq au vin. I bought a whole duck, removed the breasts for another occasion and kept the carcass for stock. This meant I had thigh pieces, drumsticks and wings for this recipe. I think they are the best pieces for something like this. I let the duck marinade for two days, and am very glad I did, the flavour was sensational. I actually think you’d be safe to bang the marinade together with the duck, put it in the fridge and forget about it for a couple of days. The flavour could only get better, as long as you’re conscious of the use by date on your duck.

Serves 3

6 pieces duck on the bone
4 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 bottle cherry wine
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon duck fat
1/2 carrot, diced
1/2 stalk celery, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons cherry port (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
6 shallots
100 grams pancetta or speck
9 small swiss brown mushrooms
1 tablepsoon fresh parsley

Combine the cherry wine, juniper berries, bay leaves, thyme and duck pieces in a bowl or casserole dish. Marinade for at least one day.

Remove the duck from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Place the duck in a plastic bag with the corn flour and shake to coat the duck in the flour. Heat the duck fat in a large frying pan. When the fat is hot, place the duck pieces in a single layer on a medium heat. Brown the duck pieces well all over and set aside. Drain most of the fat from the pan and add the diced carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Cook till the vegetables begin to turn golden. Deglase the pan with the cherry port (if using) and pour the marinade into the frying pan. When the marinade comes to the boil, turn off the heat. Arrange the duck pieces in an oven proof casserole dish and pour over the vegetables and marinade, cover and bake at 160oC for at least 2 hours.

To make the garnish, top, tail and peel the shallots and place in a small lidded saucepan with the butter. Cook very gently, on a very low heat for about half an hour, tossing occasionally so the shallots caramelise all over. Slice the pancetta and add to the pan with the mushrooms. Cook gently so the pancetta crisps and the mushrooms colour. Finely chop the parsley.

Serve the duck with mashed potato and steamed green vegetables. Arrange the garnish atop the duck and sprinkle with parsley.

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