Oh Yeah! I have been working on this chapter already a long time. It is quite a dispute to decide where the origins of the dish are. Duck meat is popular among many countries in the world, especially in the Asian and French cuisine. Let me be confident and add my origins, too. I come from Bratislava, Slovakia. Therefore, my recipe has its origin in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. That’s how I know it from my history - Duck Feast.
The base of this high-class dish is a top quality bird - a duck or gousse. Slowly roasted duck, stuffed with apples. So crispy and delicious. In my region, the most typical side dishes to serve it with are: potato pancakes, bread dumplings and slowly steamed red cabbage.
The better clay pot for cooking you have, the better meal. A good organization and timing is the key. Follow my instructions and have some proper feast. Do not forget to prepare for the festive dining.
Serve with a glass of full-flavoured red wine (preferably the same as you use for the cabbage).
As duck meat is relatively low on fat and healthy, this meal is suitable for kids from 3 plus. Just roll out a potato pancake filled with some lean shredded meat inside. Like a savory pancake, that's fun!
Total Time: A day ahead 1 hour of preparation + next day 4 hours of cooking
At least 3kg good quality whole duck, washed, cleaned and drained
1 handful of sea salt
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 whole apples, washed
The Bread Dumplings:
1 cup of lukewarm milk
10g of fresh yeast
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
500g of coarse flour, sifted
1 whole egg
A pinch of sea salt
1 Kaiser Roll, finely chopped
The Potato Pancakes:
1 kg of potatoes, cooked the evening before until soft, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 whole egg
500g of plain flour, sifted
The Red Cabbage:
3 tablespoon of a duck fat
3 tablespoons of cane sugar
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
½ head of red cabbage, cleaned, washed and chopped
Sea salt and cumin
½ cup of full-flavoured red wine
A splash of vinegar
1 whole apple, washed, peeled and finely chopped
A day before serving, prepare 3 things:
Take out the bird.
Make a dough for The Bread Dumplings and refrigerate.
Cook potatoes in a salted hot boiling water until soft and refrigerate.
One day ahead:
Place the duck into a sink and wash it properly, from the inside as from the outside. Drain.
Next, put a handful of sea salt inside of the bird. Do not worry, the duck will absorb it all.
Lightly sprinkle the duck with sea salt from the outside, too.
Place the bird into a fitting baking tray and cover with aluminium foil. Leave it in a cold place until the next day.
The Bread Dumplings
Activate the yeast. Pour in the lukewarm milk into a coffee mug. Sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Stir with the other side of a metal spoon and let it work in a warm place for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl place the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and place the egg in.
After the yeast is activated, add it into the egg and start kneading a dough. Add milk accordingly to the texture (I used the whole mug of milk). Dough should not be too floury, nor too sticky. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, knead a dough with hands once again and add the chopped bread.
Nicely incorporate it into the dough. Sprinkle with flour and cover. Let it rise for about 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into two bigger parts or four smaller ones, depends on the shapes you want to create and the size of the pot, you are going to cook it in. Cover with a cling film and refrigerate until the next day.
The Potato Pancakes
Cook potatoes in a pot filled with a salted hot boiling water until soft. Then, take them out and let them cool down entirely. Cover with aluminium foil or place them in a pot. Refrigerate till next day.
The day of serving:
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Score the duck with a sharp knife, on the spine and under the legs. Lightly season the duck with sea salt from outside, both sides. Sprinkle with a good amount of cumin, both sides. Rub it all in with your hands.
Stick 2 whole apples inside of the duck. If needed make it tight and close it with wooden skewers.
Pour 1-2 cm of the water into a bottom of the clay pot.
Duck in, the legs side down. Brush the top with milk and cover the pot. Bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes on 150 degrees.
In half of the time, turn the duck and brush the other side with the milk.
Every time you take the duck out, pour the liquid fat all over the top. This way the duck stays moist and crispy.
The Duck releases lots of fat and liquid. Therefore, every time you take it out, spoon the fat into a serving bowl. Later on, you serve it as a delicious sauce on side.
After 1 hour 30 minutes, uncover the pot and increase temperature to 180 degrees. Once you uncover the duck, poke it with a wooden skewer on few places.
Every 30 minutes, take the bird out and flip it, so it gets nicely golden all over.
Depending on the size, finish the roasting until the meat falls off the bone and it gets nicely crispy and golden. I baked it for about 4 hours in total (1.5 hour on 150 degrees, 2.5 hour on 180 degrees). Done.
Turn off the oven, cover the pot and keep it warm until serving.
The Duck Portioning
Take good quality meat scissors and make the first cut. Starting from the ass (above hidden apples) all the way through the spine. Then, nicely cut off the legs with the joined thighs, middle cuts of the spine on both sides and top cuts.
Note that the legs belong to some juicier parts. The middle parts and top of the spine are slightly drier meat, ideal for shredding into a potato pancake.
A stunning potato pancake, brushed with a good layer of the duck fat. Shredded meat in, red cabbage on side. Yummy!
The Red Cabbage (prepare during the duck roast)
Heat up 3 tablespoons of the duck fat in a large deep-frying pan on medium heat.
Add 3 tablespoons of cane sugar and onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes until nicely soft and golden.
Start layering the cabbage, 3 layers in total.
Place one-third of the cabbage in. Season with sea salt. Sprinkle with cumin and give a good stir. Continue accordingly with the second and third layer.
Lower the heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 1.5 hour until the cabbage gets soft.
Once it is soft to your liking (I like it soft with some crunch in it), increase the heat to high.
Baste with red wine and reduce.
Stir in the apple and flavour up with vinegar, salt or sugar. Taste and taste. Cook it for 15 more minutes and take off the heat. Keep it warm until serving.
The Potato Pancakes (finish up during the duck roast)
Peel, grate and blend.
Take the potatoes out of a fridge and peel them. Grate them. Afterwards, blend them until a very smooth texture.
Place the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add 1 whole egg.
Season with sea salt and taste.
Start adding the flour. I added ½ kg of plain flour on 1 kilo of cleaned and cooked potatoes.
The less flour, the better result. The dough isn’t the easiest to work with. Therefore, try to work fast, so it does not loose its texture. This is really worth it, let me tell you. The resulting dough should not be too firm, nor too sticky.
Create a long roll from the dough and divide it into 15 small parts.
Work on a sifted surface. Always roll out a piece of the dough into a thin pancake.
Heat up a large frying pan on high heat. No extra fat needed.
Before placing a pancake in, remove the extra flour from the dough.
Bake 1-2 minute from each side until the pancake starts creating brown bubbles.
Meanwhile, roll out the rest of pancakes. Continue baking until there is no dough left. Always bake one, roll out next two of them.
Right after they are baked, brush with a generous amount of the duck fat from each side.
Keep it warm until serving.
The Bread Dumplings (finish during the duck roast)
Take out the dough from the fridge.
Form small rolls and shapes of your liking (two big ones or four smaller ones).
Next, gently place them into a deep cooking pot filled with salted hot boiling water.
Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Flip them over in half of the time.
Once they are done, take them out. Poke them all over the surface with a wooden skewer and brush them with the duck fat.
Let them rest until serving.
Then, slice them with a knife and sprinkle with some duck fat.
Duck Feast - Prepare The Dining Table and place the bird in the middle.
Serve a piece of meat or shredded meat in The Potato Pancake on a plate.
Add The Potato Pancake, The Red Cabbage and slices of The Bread Dumplings. Finish with the warm duck fat.
Enjoy with some good company and a lovely glass of red full-flavoured wine.
Makes 6 serves.
My Culinary Tips:
A raw dough of The Bread Dumplings is easy to freeze. Once you are in a mood to eat them, just take the dough out and cook accordingly to my instructions mentioned above.
The remaining ½ of the raw cabbage grate and place in a plastic wrap in the freezer.
If the amount of The Potato Dumplings Dough is too much, freeze it in a plastic wrap. You can enjoy it simply some other day, a different variation perhaps.
Always warm up The Potato Dumplings in a preheated oven of 180 degrees. This way they stay nicely soft and crunchy. Afterwards, brush them with a fat.
Get inspired and check out for more of My Duck Specials.