Roast Duck with Cherry Wine Sauce

Serves 6

I don’t make duck often because I find the cooking process often makes the kitchen too smoky and smelly. I recently tried this method of cooking it at a lower temperature for a longer period of time and the results and experience were terrific. The duck is juicy with a crispy skin and the cherry sauce is a perfect accompaniment.

One 5-pound duck
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup frozen cherries halved and pitted
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons cherry jam or preserves
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Rinse the duck inside and out and pat dry. Mix 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, and sprinkle the duck inside and out. Using a paring knife, make dozens of slits through the skin and fat (taking care not to pierce the meat) all over both sides and all parts of the duck.

Put the duck breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Take it out of the oven, transfer to a platter and carefully drain the fat from the pan into a measuring cup (you’ll end up getting 2 to 3 cups). Return the duck to the pan, prick with the knife again, turn it breast-side down and roast another hour. Repeat each hour, roasting the duck for a total of 4-1/2 hours.

While the duck cooks, make the sauce: In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon duck fat over medium heat and cook the shallots until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the cherries, stock, red wine, preserves, honey and rosemary, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, swirl in the margarine and taste for salt and pepper. Set aside until the duck is finished.

After 4-1/2 hours of roasting, turn the oven temperature up to 350 degrees F, prick the duck skin one last time, salt the skin again and return it to the oven, breast-side up. Roast for 30 minutes until the skin is nicely browned.

Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Gently reheat the sauce over low heat. Carve the duck, put the pieces on a serving platter and serve with sauce.

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