Roasted Duck with Red Cabbage and Czech Dumplings.

czech roasted duck with caraway seeds

I had a great day in Sonoma tasting some wine. I specifically went to try out the Cline cellars, since I was very excited about trying their wine; I had it for the first time on the way to California on the BA flight. I love the idea of grapes grown on 100 year-old vines. The yield is low but very mature and sophisticated. I am a big fan of Cline and their Ancient Wines line. With a little luck you can get these wines from under $10, which is my comfortable price limit for a bottle of wine. After the tasting at their cellars, I could not come home empty handed, and I decided to share this gem with my family. Since good wine must be accompanied by good food, I decided to make a Czech classic: roasted duck with red cabbage and Czech dumplings.
This Czech meal consist of three separate segments. You have to roast the duck, make the cabbage and the dumplings. It is a bit more labor intensive, but again remember that a good wine must be accompanied by a good meal.  I’ll post them as separate segments because the cabbage and the dumplings are often used with other meals and later I might refer to these recipes.

Czech Roasted Duck with Caraway Seeds
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Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
  1. firm apples,such as Braeburns
  2. pears, any variety
  3. red wine
  4. salt
  5. water
  6. duck legs
  7. caraway seeds
  1. Slice the apple and pear and lay them directly on the roasting pan. Add few cups of red wine or water. The liquid should barely cover the fruit.
  2. Salt the duck legs on both side, place the legs on the fruit bed and sprinkle them generously with caraway seeds.
  3. Preheat the oven to 340F, cover the roasting pan with foil and bake until the meat is soft (2 -2.5 hours).
  4. When the meat can be easily pierced with a fork, remove the foil and broil until the skin is nice and crispy.
  1. For this recipe I used duck legs. For bigger parties or hungry individuals, you can count on 2 legs per person, for a lighter meal go with 1 duck leg per person. You can use other parts of the duck if you wish. The amount of apples and pears depends on the amount of duck you are going to roast. I use fruit in order to achieve light fruity tones and preventing the meat from drying out.
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Caramelised Red Cabbage
While the duck roasts you can do the red cabbage. This is a special cabbage used with few Czech recipes and you can use the leftovers in many good ways, as a side dish, in sandwiches.
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  1. 1 medium red cabbage (1.5-2pounds)
  2. 1 big onion
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. 3tbs vegetable oil
  5. 1/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 orange
  7. 3 cups of red wine
  8. 1tsp caraway seeds
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons, removing the hard bits and nibbling on them while you salt the cabbage and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Chop the onions.
  3. Heat the oil in large pot and add the onions together with the bay leaf. When onions become translucent, add the sugar and caramelize it.
  4. Add the caraway seeds and 10 seconds later add the red wine and the juice of one orange.
  5. Bring the mixture to boil and add the cabbage. Cook the cabbage on medium temperature until soft.
  6. When cabbage is soft add the vinegar and season with extra salt (1/2tsp maybe).
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Czech Steamed Dumplings - Knedlíky
The Czech knedliky or “steamed bread” is a real Czech classic. It is served with variety of foods, especially with sauce. This is a simple knedliky recipe; unfortunatelly they are great only on the first day. After that they lose their freshness rapidly, so try to use them right away. You will need a steamer to make these (obviously), one with a flat bottom is the best.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 1tsp sugar
  2. 1tsp yeast
  3. 3½ cups flour
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 cup of milk
  7. ½ cup lukewarm water
  1. Make a sponge: mix the lukewarm water, sugar and yeast and leave until bubbly, about ten minutes.
  2. Mix the flour with salt, add the sponge, eggs, and 2/3 cup of milk (if necessary keep adding more milk).
  3. Let it raise for 30 min, then punch it down.
  4. Let it raise again until doubled.
  5. Prepare the steamer: put a few inches of water in a large pot, and lightly oil the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil.
  6. Shape little oval loafs and put them in the steamer basket. Steam them for 10-12 minutes until they are resilient and have a firm outer skin.
  7. Let them cool and cut them into slices just before you serve them.
Emperors Crumbs

19 Responses

  1. You’re making me hungry! And homesick! I don’t know anyone in the U.S. who actually cooks duck. (Obviously those people exist, but they don’t seem to hang out in my circles. 🙁 )

  2. I know! My father in law loves duck. I found some duck meals in the China Town. Otherwise it is neglected gem. You have to know how to cook it, otherwise it can end up “stringy” or too fatty. It also depends on the duck, but I did not have a problem yet with U.S. ducks (except that they are expensive). I hope you try this.

  3. Red Cabbage (párolt vöröskáposzta) … less of the wine, and you’re missing the really essential ingredient – white vinegar (wine vinegar maybe) – won’t work without … extra sugar to balance !
    Replace caraway seeds with cinnamon ?
    I would !

    1. It seems I’m thinking of apple cider vinegar? Is this supposed to be a white vinegar (like the cleaning kind), a red wine vinegar, or a white wine vinegar? I’m trying to recreate my trip to Prague and Pest, help a girl out! Thank you! <3

      1. Hi Tiffan. In easter EU we used to use white vinegar exclusively. Actually, it is more yellow there rather than white but tastes like white. It is an old recipe and when I was growing up we had “vinegar” … that’s it 🙂 No red, white, apple, Chardonnay, or whatever. Today the world of vinegar is fascinating and I invite you to experiment with different ones. You have to know that the classical CE vinegar is pretty strong, so adjust acidity accordingly if using other kinds of vinegar. Good luck!

  4. Hi mate, great recipe! I can’t wait to try it 🙂 I have a couple of questions that I hope you can clarify for me:

    I have tried to make knedli before, and have been told that they are boiled as opposed to steamed. What differences can I expect between boiled and steamed variants?

    In your recipe for the red cabbage, you mention vinegar but your list of ingredients doesn’t. How much vinegar do I need?

    Would you put bacon on the duck as the picture, or should I follow your recipe and not use bacon?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jay,

      In Slovak knedle are “parene knedle”, which means steamed knedle. Yes you can cook them, some people prepare them that way. We are steaming them and I never tried to cook them so I cant answer your question sorry.
      Oh man vinegar. I will have to fix that. Usually I go by taste. In US there is a huge variety of vinegars with huge range of acidity. In central Europe we mark the acidity f.e. 5%. I used Trader Joe’s red wine vinegar and I added 4tbs. I would recommend you try with 2tbs and slowly add more to your taste.
      Bacon makes taste everything great! It is up to you. I love bacon so I wrapped my bird in it. 🙂 Do not worry you will not ruin anything adding it. Bacon is staple food in central Europe. 🙂 I hope this helps.
      Thanx for reading our blog

  5. Duck is always available at the Asian stores. We have many in Seattle area, fresh and not pricey. They do come with head and feet however.

  6. Hi Valerian,
    I’m in NZ, but my mum is Czech and this is my ABSOLOUTE FAVOURITE Czech dish. The problem is I can’t see the photos, do you know why? I’ll suprise my mum and make this for her. I bet she’ll cry! (I probably will!)

  7. Gréât récipé We enjoyed the finished product enormously. Small bitchy comment in the knedliky récipé you add salt in the method but there is no salt in the ingredients thanks again for a gréât recipe

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