Roast duck with cherry vodka sauce
serves 6

½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp dried marjoram or thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
6 duck breasts
300g fresh cherries, pitted
70ml cherry vodka
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp runny honey
squeeze of orange juice or dash of bitter orange liqueur
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cornflour (or potato flour)

Mix lemon, herbs, garlic and oil together, spread on the underside of the duck breasts (not the skin) and let marinate in the fridge for at least two hours and bring back to room temperature prior to cooking.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, cook the cherries, vodka, stock and honey in a saucepan over low heat for 5-10 minutes until the cherries are hot and slightly softened. Add a generous squeeze of orange juice, salt and pepper. Make a thin paste with the cornflour and 1⁄3 cup of cold water and stir the paste into the sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for a minute until the sauce thickens. Set the sauce aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place duck breasts in one layer into a large cold frying pan, skin-side down. Sear the duck on a high heat until the skin has caramelised and is golden brown. Turn the duck over and cook the underside for 1 minute.

Roast the duck in the oven for 5-7 minutes (or until done to your preference). Remove the duck from the oven, transfer to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with some sauce poured over each breast, either individually or on a platter.

This recipe first appeared in the February 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.

Recipe Lusia Guthrie | Photographs Sarah Long