Bohemian Roast Duck (Pecena Kachna)

Plate of crispy duck leg with winter vegetables
Lisa Romerein / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Rest Time: 2 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 3 to 5 servings
Yield: 1 duck
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
195 Calories
16g Fat
1g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 195
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 1302mg 57%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 137mg 3%
*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 roasted duck comes from the Czech Republic. It is called Bohemian roast duck, or pecena kachna, and requires just three ingredients—duck, garlic, and caraway seeds—as well as salt and pepper. In the Czech Republic, duck (or goose) was too expensive for everyday eating, so this was a special-occasion meal, unless you were one of the szlachta (nobility).

To get the crispiest skin, the duck needs to be at room temperature before roasting, so make sure to remove it from the refrigerator at least two hours before cooking. And since there are only a few ingredients, it's important that each is the best you can buy; if you can't find quality duck at your grocery store, you can order online from wild game meat sources. In addition, make sure your caraway seeds are fresh; they should be stored away from light and heat in tightly closed containers. Since the duck cooks with a bit of water in the bottom of the pan, you will need to place the duck on a rack; if you don't have a roasting rack, you can use a cooling rack, vegetables, or aluminum foil.

This Bohemian roast duck is delicious when served with Czech bread dumplings and Polish braised red cabbage. Leftover duck can be used in cooked-meat pierogi filling, as stuffing for mushrooms, and even in fried rice and spring rolls.


  • 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 of the duck and remove any excess fatty skin around the neck and from the cavity. If the duck is right out of the refrigerator, let sit about 2 hours to come to room temperature.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pierce the duck fat all over with a fork, but do not pierce the meat.

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

  5. Place the duck breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan with a lid. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan.

  6. Cover the pan and roast the duck for 1 hour, checking every so often to skim off the excess fat.

  7. Turn the 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.

  8. Remove from the oven and let the duck rest 10 minutes before carving.

  9. Serve over a bed of roasted vegetables or with braised cabbage and boiled potatoes.

  10. Enjoy.


To ensure extra-crispy skin, unwrap the raw duck and leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will help the skin dry out and crisp up when roasted.