Merlin and the Osip team quickly pivoted when their restaurant closed in the midst of the pandemic. They initially introduced a new concept, Bruton Provisions, selling beautiful baskets of homemade jams, preserves, patés and take home dinners. Their take away menu evolved in keeping with the seasons and brought back old Osip favourites, like this Wild Duck Tourte.
For the game lovers among you and those willing to experiment with something a little bit more technically challenging, this is the ideal recipe for a lazy Sunday when cooking a delicious meal is the only item on the agenda.
Photography: Ed Schofield
400g puff pastry, rolled to the thickness of a £1 coin
1 wild duck
1 partridge breast
40g pork back fat
8 juniper berries, crushed
50ml armagnac or brandy
4 leaves of cabbage, blanched and well drained of any water
1 egg, beaten
Cut the pastry into 4 circles a little bit larger than the size of a CD. Set aside in the fridge.
Remove the breasts and legs from the duck. Remove the skin from the duck breasts and cut in half crossways. Season the breast pieces and stack one half on top of the other so that you have a thicker wedge, almost resembling a square. Wrap this square in a cabbage leaf and put this in the fridge to chill.
Put the pork fat and partridge meat through the mincer. Take the meat from the duck legs and finely dice, saving the skin for something else. Fold the diced leg meat through the minced partridge and pork fat along with approximately half of the beaten egg and the booze. Season with salt, lots of pepper and the crushed juniper. Fry a little bit of this mixture to test the seasoning. This is your ‘farce’.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Remove the wrapped mallard breasts from the fridge. Lay the remaining two cabbage leaves on a bench and add a spoonful of farce to each one. Spread it out in a little circle and sit a mallard breast on top.
Now cover the breasts in a thin layer of the farce and bring the edges of the cabbage leaf up around it so that the whole thing is wrapped in a leaf. You should have: A mallard breast wrapped in a leaf, wrapped in farce, wrapped in a leaf.
Place each of these bundles on a disk of puff pastry and top with another disk. Pinch and crimp the edges so that they are sealed. Add a drop of milk to the remainder of the beaten egg and use this to brush the top of the pies.
Bake the pies in the oven for about 30 minutes or until they have reached a core temperature of around 57 degrees. Leave to rest for 4-5 minutes before carving. Serve with a game sauce, some preserved fruit and a bitter leaf salad.