Poached duck, wild garlic and pea bastilla

Duck with peas is a traditional British Springtime dish, especially for the now lesser-celebrated Whitsun festival. This recipe is inspired by that but with the added seasonality of wild garlic. I think poaching duck rather than roasting it retains its depth of flavour whilst being lighter.

Then it is all wrapped up in a filo pie ‘bastilla’ that is as lovely fresh out of the oven or at room temperature.

Poached duck, wild garlic and pea bastilla – for 6 slices

1½ – 2 kg duck
100ml apricot or orange liqueur, or brandy
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 whole, unpeeled garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 bay leaves
1 star anise
1 white onion, chopped
juice of an orange
75g wild garlic, chopped (keeping back any white flowers)
150g peas, cooked and drained if using frozen ones
handful of watercress
50g walnuts, ground in a spice / coffee grinder
zest of a lemon
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
250g filo pastry
100ml olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar

24cm springform cake tin

Sit the duck in a large pot, cover with cold water then add the liqueur or brandy, peppercorns, garlic, cinnamon stick pieces, bay leaves, star anise and lots of salt. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 1½ to 2 hours until the legs pull away easily.

Lift the duck out, measure out 500ml of the stock, then leave both to cool. (The rest of the stock can be strained and kept for sauces and soups). Skim the fat from the 500ml stock, then pour into a pan. Add the chopped onion and orange juice, and boil rapidly to reduce the liquid to approx 100ml.

Pull off the duck meat and tear into pieces.  Put into a large bowl and mix with the wild garlic, peas, watercress, ground walnuts, lemon zest, creme fraiche, extra virgin olive oil, honey, and onions in their reduced stock. Check the seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the cake tin with oil and dust with flour. Lay one sheet of filo in the base, letting it overhang the sides. Brush with oil and then lay another sheet of filo on top, going crossways so that it covers the other sides of the tin. Repeat with two more sheets.

Fill with the duck mixture. Fold over the overhanging filo sheets to make a lid. Lay 2 or 3 more sheets over the top, brushing each with oil as you go, scrunching them to fit.

Bake for 30 mins. Let the pie cool for 10 mins, then release the tin sides and turn the pie over onto a baking tray. Return to the oven for 5 mins to dry out the base. Turn onto a serving dish and decorate with dusted icing sugar and any held-back wild garlic flowers.

(Out of wild garlic season use spinach instead; and keep back two of the garlic cloves from the finished poaching liquid to then squeeze the flesh into the pie mixture.)

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