Royal Sonesta Houston Executive Chef Peter Laufer got our attention with his succulent hometown German-inspired duck recipe that combines all the favorites of a Thanksgiving meal: a favorite bird, tasty potatoes, and vegetables with a sweet touch of apple and spice. Who could possibly resist this unique spin on a holiday meal? And even if you don’t serve this around your family table, you’ll want to try it on your own, perhaps after your guests have gone. Just adjust the portions accordingly.


Kartoffelpuffer mit Blaukraut unt Entenbrust

(Potato Pancake with Red Cabbage and Roasted Duck Breast)

Makes 8-10 servings

Red Cabbage


  • 1 large red cabbage, 2 to 2-1/2 pounds, quartered, cored and cut crosswise in thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tart apples, such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and sliced
  • About 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the cabbage, and cover with cold water while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet or casserole, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until just about tender, about three minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring, until the mixture is golden, about three minutes, then add the apples and stir for two to three minutes.
  3. Drain the cabbage and add to the skillet. Toss to coat thoroughly, then stir in the allspice, another 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and salt to taste. Toss together.
  4. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for one hour, stirring from time to time. Add freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt, and add another tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar as desired.

German Potato Pancakes


  • 4 baking potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Coarsely grate the potatoes and put them and the onion in a strainer. Press down with the back of a large spoon to extract excess moisture. If they’re still watery, wrap them in a clean dish towel and squeeze to extract moisture.
  2. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, and egg; mix well. Gradually add flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper; mix well.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1/4 inch oil. Using about 1/3 cup of potato mixture per pancake, add potato to the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan.
  4. Fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden; turn and fry an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked through. Add more oil as needed until all batter is used.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Duck Breast


  • 6 boneless duck breast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
  2. Trim excess skin and fat from the breasts so that the skin is covering breast meat nice and uniformed. With a sharp knife serate the skin in a cross-wise pattern, but don’t cut into the meat.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet and season the breast with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear skin side first until golden color, then quickly sear the meat side for few seconds and place is back on the skin side.
  4. Roast the breasts in oven for 7 minutes. Remove when done and let rest for 2 minutes, slice thin.

Serve duck breast over potato pancake as shown and top with prepared red cabbage, garnishing with balsamic glaze.