Duck and Sour Cherry Gözleme

Ördek Gözleme

The stuffed pancakes known as gözleme are hard to find in Istanbul—even though they are well known outside Turkey. They are associated with the Yörük people who live in mountainous regions. Yörük means ‘walker’ or ‘nomad’, but the Yörüks are not gypsies. They walked into Anatolia around 800 years ago and set up agricultural communities. Nowadays, Yörük women with scarves round their heads arrive in small towns with their tents made of horsehair and fry gözleme stuffed with spinach and cheese, potatoes or minced lamb.

I decided to make the concept upmarket by including duck, which nobody would do in Turkey. Strictly speaking, this dish is not a meze (they don’t serve gözleme in meyhanes ), but in my restaurant I serve it as part of my meze selection.


  • 4 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 9 garlic cloves
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) duck legs
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • ½ bunch mint
  • 200 g (7 oz) haloumi
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) olive oil
  • 80 g ( oz) blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons capsicum (pepper) paste (see)
  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) sour cherries, pitted
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 sheet yufka, 60 cm (24 in) wide (or 12 sheets of filo about 30 × 40 cm/12 × 16 in)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons butter


Cut two of the onions into quarters, quarter the carrots, squash five of the garlic cloves, and place in a large saucepan. Add the duck legs, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns, cover with water and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for hours until the legs are fully cooked.

Meanwhile, chop the remaining onions and crush the remaining garlic. Pick the leaves from the parsley and mint, and finely chop. Coarsely grate the haloumi.

Remove the duck legs from the cooking liquid. Leave to cool slightly and then pull the meat off the bones. Shred the duck meat, and discard the bones and cooking liquid.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast for 2 minutes, shaking the pan constantly to evenly brown. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, capsicum paste and the duck meat. Cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.

Halve the sour cherries. Stir them into the duck mixture and then add the parsley, lemon juice, mint and haloumi. Stir to combine.

Cut the yufka into six wedges. (Or if you’re using filo, overlap two sheets to make a square, painting a little melted butter where they overlap to help them stick together.)

Divide the duck mixture into six portions and put one portion in the middle of each wedge of yufka (or each square of filo). Whisk the egg.

Fold the three points of the yufka wedges over the filling to make a triangular parcel, or fold the four corners of the filo over the filling to make a square parcel. Paint some egg onto the last layer to stick the parcels together.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a frying pan over high heat. Add one gözleme and fry for 3 minutes on the multi-layered side of the parcel, then flip over and cook the other side for 1 minute. Place on paper towel and repeat with the remaining gözleme and butter. Serve hot on a platter for people to help themselves.