Although the fat is delicious, and gives the duck a lot of flavor, it's best not to consume too much of the fat. So now when I fix duck, I spend a lot more time in preparation, and most of the fat goes out in a pan for the birds after it's been used a couple of times.
The breasts are my favorite, and when deboned and skinned, not fatty at all. After lifting them from the breastbones, the bones go into a pot with the wing tips to make a stock, flavored with peppercorns, bay leaves and a sprig of thyme. The breasts go in the refrigerator, seasoned, salted and covered. After a few hours over low heat, when the meat clinging to the bones looks like it's about to fall off, strain the stock and throw out the bones and spices. Return the liquid to the pot and bring to a boil. Put the cold breasts into the boiling water. Bring them back to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes, then slice crosswise.
While the breasts are boiling, make a cherry sauce (this was enough for three breast halves):
1/2 cup sour cherries from a jar (reserve 1/2 cup juice)
2 tablespoons each of balsamic vinegar and sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
Put the cherries, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and simmer until reduced to a glaze. Mix the cornstarch in the cold juice. Add to the saucepan and stir. If the sauce is too thick, add water until it thins to the consistency you like. Serve over the duck breasts.
Tomorrow: Crockpot confit