- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
- 2 pears, diced small, skin on
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 4 4-ounce duck breast
- 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 sprig marjoram
- 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
In a sauce pot, dissolve the sugar in the white wine and simmer unitl the the mixture becomes syrupy about 5 minutes. Add the dried cherries to plump them. In a separate bowl, toss the pears with the balsamic, add to the sauce pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. The mixture should be tender but the pear pieces should still be intact. Set aside until ready to use. The compote can be made several days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat place the duck breasts fat side down in the pan and cook until the skin is crisp and the fat has mostly rendered out, about 8 or 9 minutes. Turn the duck breast over and continue to cook for about 4 minutes longer. Transfer the duck breast to a platter and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Pour the fat off of the pan and add the shallots, sprig of marjoram, wine and stock. Cook over medium heat until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the butter in small additions until it is fully incorporated. Pour any juices that have accumulated from the duck breast into the pan and cook 1 minute longer. Discard the marjoram sprig.
To assemble, carve the duck breast and place half of the compote in the center of the plate and fan the breast over the compote. Spoon the reduced sauce over the meat. Serve immediately.