Breast of Duck with Cherries & Thyme

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Yield:  4 Servings

3 each  Duck breasts, skin-on, approx 6 oz each
To taste Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp  Olive oil
1 large    Shallot, minced
1 cup  Good red wine
1 cup  Chicken stock
1 large  Orange; zest and juice (should yield 1 cup juice)
1 Tbsp  Honey
2 cups   Cherries; pitted and halved (start with ¾ lb cherries)
1/2 tsp  Fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp  Butter
1 Tbsp   Chives, sliced

1. Heat a 10” skillet over low heat. Score the skin of the duck breast with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern (to help render the fat); season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and place the duck in the pan, skin side down and allow it to cook slowly until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp; about 12-15 minutes (be patient!).  Turn the duck over and cook briefly (3-4 min.) on the other side; remove from the pan and allow to rest. It should still be medium-rare.

2. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the fat from the pan and return the pan to the stove. Turn heat to high, add the shallot and cook until the shallot softens and begins to brown. Add the wine, chicken stock and orange juice and 1 packed tsp of zest; reduce to 3/4 cup.

3. Add the honey, cherries and thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until cherries soften (about 4 minutes). Swirl in the butter and chives; serve with the sliced duck breasts.