Pan-Fried Marinated Duck Breasts with Cinnamon-Spiced Cherries

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There’s a stall at my local farmers’ market that sells biodynamically grown fruits throughout the seasons. When it’s cherry time, hundreds of the juicy beauties will sit atop high oak barrels, looking as though each one has been lovingly polished. We choose from a selection of Rainier, Bing, Van and Sweethearts among others and there are always plenty for tasting prior to bagging up and taking home, a fair few eaten on the way. I have to admit we always spend more time than is strictly necessary at that stall, just to be sure we have sampled each one of their sweet and sour offerings.

I’m not aware who came up with the idea of serving cherries alongside duck but that person was a genius. Despite not being a big fan of serving fruit with meat, this particular combination works so well. Be sure to follow the instructions for cooking the duck breasts and you’ll end up with a bonus pot of rendered fat for your next few meals.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Pan-Fried Marinated Duck Breasts with Cinnamon-Spiced Cherries
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Trim away the silvery sinew on the flesh side of the duck breasts (otherwise they will seize up and end up half the size). Put the duck breasts into a dish large enough to sit them without overlapping but still keeping them quite snug. Make 4-5, 3mm slashes through the skin of each breast and rub the marinade all over, pushing it down into the slashes. Cover the dish and put into the fridge overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
  2. Make the sauce. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and gently sweat the shallots until softened. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 12 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the cherries have softened, but still retain their shape. Taste and add more salt if needed. This can be made in advance and gently reheated before serving.
  3. Meanwhile cook the duck breasts. Start by wiping off as much of the marinade as possible. Place the duck breasts into a large cold frying pan, skin side down. Not only does this method render the fat, it prevents it from spitting all over the place. Place over a medium heat and cook for around 7 minutes until browned, leaving undisturbed (if you try and move it too soon the skin will probably stick to the pan). Now turn the duck breasts over and continue cooking for a further 2-3 minutes, basting a few times with the fat in the pan. Remove the breasts and put them onto a plate to rest for a couple of minutes. Pour the fat through a metal sieve into a glass bowl and refrigerate for further use once cold.
  4. Using a sharp knife, slice the duck breasts on the diagonal and arrange onto plates. Remove the cinnamon stick from the cherry sauce and spoon the sauce over the duck.

About Kate Jay

Kate Jay, NTP, RWP, CGP and AIP Certified Coach, has been blogging at Healing Family Eats, since June 2014. Diagnosed years ago as hypothyroid, she and her family were already following the GAPS diet for digestive issues when Kate noticed swelling consistent with RA. She set up her AIP food blog as motivation for making the restricted diet as exciting as possible for her children, who felt they missed out on the junk their friends took to school. Originally a classically trained chef, who freelanced with popular food magazines in the UK, she is now passionate about helping her clients heal using a combination of her holistic training, lab work and real food as medicine. She focuses on creating simple, nutritionally dense and balanced family meals, without compromising on flavour. Find her also on FacebookPinterestTwitter and Instagram.


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