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Duck Breasts With Cheerwine and Cherry Gastrique

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Ingredients

4 cups Cheerwine

1 cup sherry vinegar

Bouquet garni of fresh thyme and parsley

5 tablespoons butter, divided, if using pork chops (4 tablespoons, divided, if using duck)

¾ cup minced shallots

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups pitted cherries

¼ cup amaretto

½ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

4 boneless duck breasts or 4 bone-in pork chops

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Directions

Gastrique can be made up to 5 days in advance. Chef Callaghan recommends a bitter vegetable like collard greens or broccoli rabe as a side dish.

  1. In a thick-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, bring Cheerwine to a boil, stirring frequently, and reduce slowly until liquid becomes thick (similar to maple syrup—about 1 cup). This will take a while and requires vigilance and a fair amount of swirling and stirring. Bubbles will get larger while simmer-ing, indicating that sauce is getting thicker. Add vinegar while whisking rapidly. Reduce heat to low and add bouquet garni, removing after 15 minutes so herbs don’t overpower sauce. If mak-ing in advance, remove from heat and refrigerate until needed.
  2. In a sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat and cook shallots and garlic until translucent. Add cherries and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with amaretto, allowing all alcohol to burn off. Add chicken stock and mustard, mixing thoroughly. Bring to a sim-mer and cook for 5 additional minutes. Pour into Cheerwine mixture. Set aside.

TO PREPARE THE MEAT:

For duck: Score the skin side of breasts and season with salt and pepper. Using a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, sear duck breasts, skin-side down, for 7 to 10 minutes. Do not move breasts once on skillet. As breasts sear, skin will cook and fat cap will dramatically reduce while meat stays between rare and medium-rare. Once fat has been reduced, turn breasts over to briefly sear other sides. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes, then slice and fan out on plates.

For pork chops: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Using a cast-iron skillet, sear pork chops with 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Turn chops over when a golden crust has formed, and put chops and entire skillet into 350-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes.Chops will be medium-rare right at bone, though they may be left in longer for higher levels of doneness.

To assemble: In a sauté pan, bring gastrique to a simmer. Add 2 tablespoons butter and swirl pan until butter is melted. Continue to swirl sauce in pan as it thickens. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste just before serving. Pour over sliced duck or pork chops.

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