Special equipment: Evergreens and crushed pine cones, for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Place oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Using a straight-edge razor or an X-acto knife, score the fat on the breast making crosswise slashes every 1/2-inch, being sure not to puncture the flesh. Using kitchen twine, truss the duck, leaving enough twine to form a handle. Lower the duck into the boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove and drain any water that has accumulated in the cavity of the duck. Set the duck on a wire rack, breast-side up, in a large roasting pan. Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of the roasting pan. This will prevent the fat from smoking as it drips into the roasting pan. Season the duck with salt and pepper. Place the rutabagas in a small ovenproof pan. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with vinegar and stir to combine. Cover and place in oven with the duck. Roast until the duck is golden brown and most of the fat has rendered, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove rutabagas from the oven; set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F. Continue to roast duck until the skin is well-browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Pass the rutabagas through a food mill fitted with a large disk directly into a medium saucepan. Add the butter and season with salt, pepper, and honey, stirring to combine. Stir in the mint. Transfer to a serving dish; keep warm. Remove cooked duck from oven and brush with half of the sour cherry glaze. Transfer to a serving platter. Arrange the evergreens and pinecones around the perimeter of platter larger than the one with the duck. Top with the duck platter. Using a torch, sear the evergreens, pine cones, and spices until aromatic. Serve immediately with rutabagas and remaining glaze.
In a small saucepan, combine the cherries and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until steam rises from the saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside until the cherries have re-hydrated. Place the sugar in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and becomes a light caramel color, about 10 minutes. Drain the cherries, reserving the vinegar, and roughly chop; set aside. Remove caramel from heat. Carefully add the vinegar as it may spatter. Stir until the caramel melts. Add the wine and simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture has reduced by about 2/3 and is the consistency of a thin syrup. Stir in the reserved cherries. Whisk in the mustard and salt. The glaze may be prepared in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The sauce will thicken upon standing; heat gently before serving. Yield: about 2 cups *Cook's Note:
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