Chez Chaz: duck breast with cherry sauce

I thought it appropriate to offer a more romantic recipe for Valentine’s Day. Duck is a great meal for two people, and is a sure way to impress your gastronomical partner. Don’t be worried about cooking it – it’s surprisingly easy and doesn’t take that long at all. Duck goes particularly well with fruits, so I’ve chosen a cherry sauce to accompany it, the rich purple colour of which will certainly add an erotic note to your evening

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 large duck breast, skin still on (look in the Covered Market!)

60 ml port

½ cup water

Handful cherries, deseeded and chopped

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp cherry jam

1 tbsp flour (cornflour ideally)

1 knob of butter

Method

Set the oven to 180 degrees. Pat the duck breast dry with kitchen paper and then score in a criss-cross pattern the skin on the duck. This is to stop it curling up. Season with salt and place in a cold pan, skin-side down, and turn on the heat up to medium. As the pan warms, the fat in the skin will gradually render out. Leave to cook for seven minutes, turning on the other side for the last minute. You may need to take out the excess fat coming from the duck, but keep it safe because it’s great for cooking potatoes and veg! Transfer the duck into the oven with the skin side up. Leave it to cook there for another five minutes (this is for pink – leave longer if you prefer your meat well done) before taking out and leaving to rest for another five minutes (don’t cut into it before this because otherwise the juices will run everywhere.) Meanwhile, prepare the sauce in the pan you cooked the duck in. Over a medium heat, pour in the port, water, sugar, cherry jam and flour. Stir frequently and let it reduce to a smooth consistency. Right at the end, put in the butter and stir into the sauce (don’t leave it still because it won’t mix into the sauce properly otherwise.) You may need to add more sugar or a hint of lemon juice if it’s not sweet enough or too sweet