A classic combination of fruit and meat, sweet and savoury and so easy to make at home.
To make the cherry sauce
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Pour the wine and port into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil on a high heat and reduce its volume by half. Add the cherries, five spice, cinnamon, pepper and salt and return to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and remove 20 cherries for the garnish.
Pour the pan contents into a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a small saucepan and add the reserved cherries. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
For the duck
Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and render the fat. Place the duck breasts skin-side down in a large frying pan set at a medium heat. Colour the skin, for 10 minutes, pouring off the excess fat every 2 minutes until the skin is a crispy golden brown. Turn the duck on to its flesh side and sear for 1 minute to lock in juices. Return the breasts to their skin sides and put in a dish in the hot oven for 4 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 4 minutes.
Cooking the sweet potato
While the duck skin is rendering, roast the sweet potato slices in the groundnut oil and butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Colour them for 5-6 minutes each side, seasoning each slice with salt and pepper, then transfer to the oven to finish the cooking for 4 minutes. Serve the duck on a slice of sweet potato with the hot cherries and cherry sauce.
This recipe was provided by chef Raymond Blanc to celebrate the joint 25th anniversaries of Saga Magazine and Michelin-starred restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in 2009. For more recipes from Raymond Blanc, buy his book My Kitchen Table: 100 Recipes for Entertaining