TC Recipe: Sautéed Duck Breast with Swiss Chard, Garlic Confit, Fingerling Potatoes & Red Wine Cherry Jus

May 20 2013

By Junior Sous Chef Jeff Gardner
Suggested Pairing: 2010 Croft Vineyard Pinot Noir
Serves 4

It’s easy to overthink what food to pair with a certain wine. One thing is for certain: there is nothing wrong with using simple pairing devices when creating food and wine combinations. One classic method is to use tasting notes to create linear pairings. For example, when you think Pinot Noir, you may associate flavors such as dark cherry and game, and food with these same flavors can be a great match. In this recipe for duck and cherry jus by Chef Jeff Gardner, the undertones of game flavor in the duck are beautiful with the light spice notes and fruit flavors of the wine. The cherry jus bridges of the Pinot Noir across the entire dish. Enjoy, and please do not hesitate to let us know about your experiences with pairing wine and foods!

-Benjamin Nadolny, Executive Chef


    For the Duck:

  • 2 each duck breast
  • salt, kosher (to taste)
  • black pepper, fresh ground (to taste)
    For the Sauce:

  • 2 cups duck stock (or chicken stock if duck stock is not available)
  • 1/4 cup Pinot Noir
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tsp. tarragon, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. butter, unsalted, cubed
    For the Vegetables:

  • 12-14 fingerling potatoes
  • 2 bunches swiss chard
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves
  • 1 cup oil
  • salt, kosher (as needed)
  • black pepper, fresh ground (as needed)


For the Duck
Lightly score the fat on the duck breast with cross hashes, being careful not to cut too deep through the fat. You will end up with diamond shapes.
Season the duck breast with salt and pepper on both sides.
Preheat a sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the duck breast skin side down and cook until 3/4 of the fat is rendered. The skin should be very crisp and golden brown. This should take roughly 10 minutes.
Drain off excess fat and flip the duck breast over and cook 1 minute to medium rare or until desired temperature has been achieved. Let rest 2 minutes before cutting.

For the Vegetables:
In a small pot place the oil and garlic and bring it up to a slight bubble. Maintain a slight bubble for 15-20 minutes or until the cloves are just fork tender. Remove from heat and let the cloves cool in the oil. Once cool, separate the garlic from the oil and set both aside.
In another pot gently simmer the fingerling potatoes in water. Cook until fork tender.
Using a small spoon, scrape off the potato skins.
Pull Swiss chard off the vein and cut into smaller pieces.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic infused oil to the pan. Sauté the chard until wilted, add a few cloves of garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Sauce:
In a medium size sauce pot, reduce the wine by two-thirds. Add the stock and the cherries. Simmer gently for 6-8 minutes until it has a good cherry flavor.
Add the tarragon, sherry vinegar, and whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Plate:
Place the chard and garlic in the center of the plate. Place the potatoes around the chard. Spoon sauce onto the plate around the chard and potatoes. Slice the duck breast on a bias and fan out on top the chard. Garnish the duck breast with a little fleur de sel. Present to your guests and enjoy!