The new show Flavor of Poland aims to introduce Americans to the vibrancy of Polish history, culture, and food, as host Aleksandra August travels across the country learning about traditions and recipes. In the first episode, she visits Kraków, the capital of Lesser Poland, where the influence of various cultures mixed to form Galician cuisine. Here, August offers a recipe for Kraków-Style Roasted Duck.
Kraków-Style Roasted Duck
Roasted duck is a traditional dish found across many regions of Poland, but it has an especially important place on the menu of the Lesser Poland region. It’s one of the most iconic dishes of the Old Polish cuisine. A noble meat, duck was a popular item on the dining tables of Poland’s royalty and nobility, who largely resided in this area when Kraków was the capitol of Poland. It's no wonder that the locals have preserved this great recipe in their culinary canon. Today, Kraków’s roasted duck is a gourmet item on the menu of many restaurants specializing in Polish cuisine throughout the city. It’s a truly delicious and elegant dish!
You’ll be surprised that it’s also quite simple to prepare. With a little bit of patience, you can achieve a delicious roasted duck with a light texture and flavor. Traditionally, a Kraków-style duck is served over a bed of buckwheat cooked in a broth from the roasted duck, but the recipe I share on Flavor of Poland is my grandmother’s recipe. In this version, we’ll add the buckwheat to the duck as a stuffing, giving the meat a more tender taste.
The buckwheat filling not only adds nutritional benefits, but also turns the duck into a full meal on a plate!
4 lb whole duck
For the marinade:
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves
For the stuffing:
1 cup organic buckwheat groats (unroasted)
Handful (8-10) champignon mushrooms
1 chopped red onion
1 chopped white onion
4 slices of bacon
1. Prep the meat: Thoroughly clean the duck (inside and out), remove any innards, and then pat down to dry, making sure it is completely dry.
2. Prepare the marinade by combining the grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and marjoram leaves in a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
3. Place the duck into a heatproof casserole dish and apply the marinade to the duck, covering it thoroughly inside and out. Cover the dish with a lid and place the duck into the fridge for about two hours to allow the meat to absorb the flavors of the marinade.
4. Prepare the stuffing: In a medium-sized saucepan, stir the buckwheat groats into 2 cups of water (use one part buckwheat to two parts water) and add a pinch of salt to taste. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring periodically. The buckwheat is ready once it has absorbed all of the water.
5. Fry the bacon over medium heat in a frying pan until it achieves a delicate rosy tone, just to get it started. Do not fry to a full crisp. Add the white and red onions and continue to cook, stirring together. Fry until onions achieve a light, golden color.
6. Add the mushrooms to the ingredients in the frying pan. Allow mushrooms to release their liquid. Once the liquid has fully evaporated, the mixture in the pan is done.
7. Set the cooked buckwheat and the mix of ingredients in the frying pan aside to cool. Once everything has cooled, combine the buckwheat with the mushroom, onion, and bacon mixture in a separate bowl. Optional: For added freshness in the stuffing, finely chop a few stems of fresh parsley leaf and mix into the stuffing.
8. Roast the duck: Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove marinated duck from the fridge.
9. Truss the duck from the neck: pinch the skin about an inch deep and use a culinary trussing needle and twine to stitch the end together to ensure that the stuffing does not fall out of the duck while roasting.
10. Add the stuffing in on the other side. Once done, secure the other end of the duck with the trussing needle and twine. Again, pinch the skin about a half-inch to an inch deep to ensure that it doesn’t come apart while roasting.
11. Place the duck belly-down in the casserole dish, cover with a lid, and place in the oven. Roast for one and a half hours at 375°F, then lower the temperature to 320°F and remove the lid. Continue to roast for another half hour, making sure to baste the duck frequently.
12. Once the duck has achieved a nice, golden color, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter.
13. Garnish with greens such as kale and thyme leaves. You can also add slices of pear or fresh cranberry. Cut and enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine!