Honey-lacquered Duck With Sour Cherry Sauce

"A gorgeous, mahogany-coloured duck. The rich meat is set off by the tart cherry sauce. I would serve this with steamed or roasted broccoli. Developed for the RSC 2004 Contest."
photo by Peter J photo by Peter J
photo by Peter J
Ready In:
2hrs 20mins




  • Put 10-12 sage leaves into a small saucepan with 1 cup of water and bring to the boil; simmer for 7 minutes and remove from heat; remove leaves and allow to cool.
  • Wash the duck out and pat dry with paper towels; season generously with salt and put on a plate in the refrigerator to air-dry for 1 hour (2 hours is even better ;-) ).
  • In a small saucepan, combine sage infusion, honey, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and bring to the boil; boil at medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes until mixture becomes slightly syrupy and is reduced to 2/3 of a cup; pour 1/3 cup+ 1 tblsp into measuring cup and keep remainder in saucepan.
  • Preheat oven to 415F°.
  • Put duck in roasting pan, breast-side-down and roast for ½ an hour (drain fat off, retain); turn duck breast-side-up and roast ½ an hour longer (drain fat off again, retain); brush duck with the honey glaze and continue roasting 15 minutes; after the 15 minutes, turn duck so that it is breast-side-down again and brush with more honey glaze, do this once more after 15 minutes then turn duck breast-side-up again, brush with glaze and roast for a final 15 minutes; in all, the duck will have roasted a total of 2 hours and have had 4 glazings, 1 up, 2 down, and the last one up again; remove roaster from oven and allow duck to stand for 10 minutes while you finish the sauce.
  • Pour off the fat you have retained into a small container (duck fat is great for frying potatoes!) and pour any accumulated duck juices into the saucepan containing the remaining honey glaze; add the cherries and any accumulated cherry juices as well as the cinnamon and bring to a boil; boil for 7-8 minutes, or until cherry sauce has become slightly-thickened and syrupy (if you want your sauce slightly thicker, you can sprinkle 1/2-3/4 tsp of cornstarch over cherries).
  • Carve duck (in our case, this just means quartering the duck), and serve with the sour cherry sauce.
  • Note: I have a special double-lined roaster, with one inclined tray with a hole in it fitting over a classic pan, this allows the fat to drain off the roasting meat, drip through the hole, and gather in the pan underneath; if you do not own this type of pan, use a classic roaster but drain fat off roasting duck more often.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Peter J
    Wonderful! Great clear directions that I followed exactly that gave a great crispy skin and colour. The sauce was perfectly balanced with the richness of the duck.
  2. beckymusician
    I made this on New Year's Day for my DH and son. I also had to use sweet cherries (frozen) and the sauce was excellent. I cut the soy sauce to 1 tablespoon because we don't care for overly salty food and my DH raved about the sauce, eating it with the duck, rice and then alone. My one problem was the house got somewhat smokey the second hour of cooking. I used a pan with a rack for the duck to rest on, so the drippings fell into the pan below the duck. Did anyone else have this problem?
  3. a_olson82
    i made this duck for our valentine's day dinner, absolutely delicious! stuffed the duck with one granny smith apple and one blood orange cut up in chunks, we each ate half the duck, and the sauce was incredible... easy to do and great results. my poor side dishes barely received any attention at all! thanks!
  4. Bijou
    I made this recipe for Christmas Eve, but I used two 5 lb. ducks and with 6 of us, it was rapidly gone. Used the duck fat to fry fingerling potatoes and everyone loved it. Served a Pinot Noir which went well with the cherry sauce. As there were no sour cherries, had to go with sweet cherries, and it still was perfect considering how fast everything disappeared. Thank you!!!
  5. Cindy Lynn
    I served this as our main course to family and house guests and was that ever a great selection on my part! The guys were practically fighting to be the one to pick over the bones... Needless to say, there were no leftovers, with the exception of the rendered fat. I personally preferred this without the cherry sauce, but the guys all favored it with the cherry sauce, which I served in small dishes on the side. I especially appreciated the tip regarding using the duck fat for frying potatoes; we loved it and found it to be quite competitive with bacon fat, our usual preference, and probably much healthier. DH has made it very clear that he hopes to see this recipe repeated frequently on our menu! The instructions are also extremely well written, very easily followed without leaving anything in question on my part.



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