Place the apple cider, stock, bay leaves and peppercorns in a small pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium, or to where it continues to simmer gently, uncovered. Reduce to ¼ of a cup, then stir in maple syrup.
Pat dry the duck, then with a sharp knife, score the duck skin just to the flesh in diagonal lines about ¾ inch apart. ( see photo).
Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a large heavy bottom skillet on the stove, over medium high heat ( no need to add oil).
Once the skillet is hot, place the duck skin side down and let them sear. After 2-3 minutes, give the pan a shake to loosen the duck and turn heat to medium. Continue cooking for 15 minutes on the skin side.
Drain the fat ( saving for another use) turn the duck breasts over and nestle in the plums, ( leaving small ones whole, and cutting large ones in half) scatter 6-8 sage leaves in the pan, then place the pan in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes, until duck is cooked through to your liking and plums have softened.
To make crispy sage leaves, simple heat oil or butter in small skillet and lightly fry the leaves. Season with a touch of salt. Place on a paper towel.
Once duck is cooked to your liking, pull from the oven and pour a the cider maple glaze over top. Scatter with the sage leaves.
You can also make this with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. Prepare the same way, except sear the skin side just until golden, about 5-6 minutes. Turn over, cook 2-3 minutes and finish off in the oven. you won’t need to drain any fat. (Duck skin is much thicker and fattier than chicken skin.)
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