Bohemian Roast Duck (Pecena Kachna)

Plate of crispy duck leg with winter vegetables
Lisa Romerein / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Let duck come to room temp: 2 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 duck
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
244 Calories
20g Fat
1g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 244
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 1628mg 71%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 171mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This simple recipe for Bohemian-style roast duck is delicious when served with Czech bread dumplings and Polish braised red cabbage. Duck or goose was too expensive for everyday eating, so this was a special-occasion meal in my family unless you were one of the szlachta (nobility). My sister has less-than-fond memories of making friends with the duck busia bought at the live poultry store only to witness its demise and its blood drained for czarnina soup. Luckily, I was spared these Kodak moments. Leftover duck can be used in cooked-meat pierogi filling, as stuffing for mushrooms and more.


  • 1 (5-pound) duck, thoroughly cleaned

  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut the wing tips off and duck, and remove any excess fatty skin around the neck and from the cavity.

  3. Pierce the duck fat all over with a fork, but do not pierce the meat.

  4. Liberally salt exterior and interior of duck, rub with garlic and sprinkle with caraway.

  5. Place duck breast-side down in a roasting pan with a lid and cover. If the duck is right out of the refrigerator, let sit about 2 hours to come to room temperature.

  6. Heat oven to 350 F. Pour 1 cup water in the bottom of the roasting pan.

  7. Roast duck 1 hour, skimming off excess fat.

  8. Turn duck breast-side up and continue to roast uncovered for another hour, basting often, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 150 F and the skin is golden.

  9. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving.