I came up with this sauce as a way to use up some of the whole cranberries stocked in the freezer from Thanksgiving. I like to wait until they go on sale, then buy enough to last all year long. This year Katherine had the same idea, so we have slightly more than we normally consume. This sauce is a bit of work, but the ends justify the extra work.
The sauce is perfect with wild duck and would work equally well over venison. Do not throw away the leftover fruit pulp, it can be used for many things. Do not substitute pre-made orange juice for fresh squeezed. If using farm-raised duck then reduce the amount of fat used to sear the meat and increase cooking times to match the weight of the breasts.
Cranberry Duck Breasts
- 6-7 wild duck breasts
- 2 cups whole cranberries
- 3 tbsp sorghum (honey may be substituted)
- 2-3 large oranges
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Juice oranges and pour liquid through strainer removing any pulp until there is one cup of fresh juice. Set strained orange juice aside. In a small sauce pan add cranberries, sorghum, water and pulp from juiced oranges. Bring cranberries to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer and continue to cook until all berries burst and mash into a paste. Cook for two minutes more then pour cranberries through a fine mess strainer, pressing all the liquid from the pulp until there is two cups of liquid (a little more will not hurt). Set the solids aside for another recipe. In a large saute pan heat four tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add duck breasts and quickly sear each side, about two minutes a side. Remove meat from pan to a plate and tent with foil. Add onion to pan and saute until beginning to brown. Add cranberry and orange juices and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook sauce until reduced and beginning to thicken. Return duck to pan along with any accumulated juices and coat in sauce. Cook for two minutes more and serve topped with fresh parsley.