• Duck with cherry and Madeira sauce (The Chefs' Line)

This cherries in the sauce add a great hit of acid, cutting through the fat of the duck. 






Skill level

Average: 4.2 (8 votes)


Chicken stock

  • 1 kg chicken pieces (carcass, wings, neck)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 leek, white part only, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stick, quartered
  • 1 bouquet garni (see Note)
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1.25 litres water


Cherry and Madeira sauce

  • 2 eschalots, thinly sliced
  • 250 ml (1 cup) aged Madeira
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) chicken stock (from above)
  • 50 g cherries, pitted
  • 20 g cold butter, cubed


Pomme purée

  • 500 g potatoes, peeled (see Note)
  • 220 g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 125 ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time: 1 hour

For the chicken stock, put all the ingredients into pressure cooker, seal according to the manufacturer’s instructions and cook on high for 25 minutes. Unseal according to the manufacturer’s instructions and allow to cool slightly, then strain twice through a fine sieve, discarding solids. Refrigerate until chilled, then strain again through muslin (or a clean Chux) to remove the fat. Reserve 375 ml and freeze the remainder for up to 1 month.

For the pomme purée, place in a double-steamer and steam for 25 minutes until tender.

Gently warm the milk and keep warm.

When the potatoes are ready, pass through a sieve, mill, ricer or mouli into a large bowl. Whisk in the butter, a cube at a time, by hand until all incorporated. Whisk in half of the warm milk and season with white pepper. Whisk in the remaining milk as desired to reach a smooth, creamy consistency.

For the cherry and Madeira sauce, melt 20 g butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat, add the eschalot and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add the Madeira and flambé to burn off the alcohol.

When the flames goes out, add the stock and reduce by half.

Strain the sauce, discarding the solids, and return the sauce to the pan. Add the cherries to the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about 4-5 minutes. Check for seasoning. Just before serving, whisk in the butter.

For the duck, use a small, sharp knife to score the skin of the duck breasts in a cross-hatch pattern. Season both sides well, rubbing into the skin.

Heat a non-stick ovenproof frying pan over high heat, add the duck, skin-side down, and cook for 3 minutes or until the skin is nicely browned. Reduce the heat to medium, flip over and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove, cover and allow to rest.

To serve, spoon the pomme purée onto serving plates, arrange a duck breast on top and spoon over the sauce.


Cook's notes

• A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs (traditionally some parsley stalks, a thyme sprig and a bay leaf) tied up with kitchen string and placed in stock or soup to infuse.

• Choose a good mashing potato, such as Dutch creams.


This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.