Breast of Duck with Blackberries and Thyme

Courtesy of Chef Charles Wiley, Executive Chef at Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Arizona 

Serves 4

  • 3 duck breasts, skin on (6 oz each)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup J. Lohr Estates Falcon's Perch Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups (about 1/2 lb) blackberries (or substitute fresh pitted cherries)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Heat a 10-inch skillet over low heat. Score skin of duck breast with sharp knife in crisscross pattern (to help render the fat), then season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to hot pan, add duck skin-side down, and allow it to cook slowly until fat is rendered and skin is crisp (about 12 to 15 minutes— be patient!). Turn duck over and cook briefly, for 3 to 4 minutes, on the other side. Remove from pan and allow to rest.

Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of fat from pan and return pan to stove. Turn heat to high, add shallot, and cook until softened and beginning to brown. Add J. Lohr Estates Pinot Noir, chicken stock, orange juice and 1 tsp of orange zest. Simmer until mixture is reduced to ¾ cup. Strain and return to pan. Add honey, blackberries or cherries, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until berries soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. While sauce is cooking, slice duck breasts on a diagonal, and fan out slices on four plates. Swirl butter into sauce, then drizzle over duck slices. Serve with a glass of delightful J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir!