Lamb Pies

lamb1

The lucky dinner box continues to be a success. With a lucky dip “who will win” draw each Saturday morning, the schedule is filled, dinner plan done and shopping trip made.

Last night was Lamb Pies, happily one of the birthday boy’s favourites. After the Sunday roast post Katherine asked if I’d post more family recipes so here it is. We’ve revamped our Lamb Pie recipe, we’ve stayed with the Women’s Weekly recipe, but its a shank based pie, if you don’t have time to slow cook just go with every day lamb rather than a fancy shank. I mean, seriously, it’s a pie.

The official recipe calls for two different types of pastry (crust on the bottom, puff for the top) I stick with small squares of puff pastry that are lined into greased muffin trays to make small pies. Extras can go in lunch boxes the following day.

What you’ll need for the shopping list.

4 (1kg) lamb shanks, if it’s not around or you’re time or cash poor just do everyday lamb.
1/2 cup(75g) plain flour
2 tbspolive oil
2 medium (240g) carrots, chopped
3 (300g) celery sticks, chopped
2 medium (300g) brown onions, chopped
4 clovesgarlic, chopped
1/4 cup(70g) tomato paste
1 1/2 cups(375ml) red wine
1 1/2 cups(375ml) veal or beef stock
1 tspfresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 egg, beaten lightly

(one of us doesn’t eat celery, we often put potato in the pies)

Toss the lamb in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake away the excess flour; reserve remaining flour. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add lamb, cook until browned all over. At this stage you’re meant to transfer your lamb to a slow cooker, we don’t have a slow cooker so it just lightly simmers on the stove top. 

Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic; cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft but not browned. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, for a further 1 minute. Stir in wine; bring to the boil. Blend reserved flour with a little of the stock in a small bowl until smooth. Add flour mixture, remaining stock and herbs to pan; bring to the boil. Add to lamb. Make sure all the meat is submerged in the liquid – any meat poking out the top will be tough and dry.

Put the lid on and cook on low for 3-4 hours (if you had a slow cooker you’d do it for 6). The meat will be tender and falling off the bone. Remove the lamb and vegetables from the sauce with a slotted spoon; cover to keep warm. Discard the bay leaves. Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan. Boil, stirring, for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.

Using two forks, shred the lamb and remove and discard the bones. Add the lamb and vegetables to the pan with the thickened sauce. The mixture should be thick and rich-flavoured, and not too wet. Season to taste; cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a muffin tray (I like the bigger muffin trays) with pastry sheets, I use the small square ones for individual pies. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C (200°C fan-forced).

Divide the lamb mixture between pastry cases. Cut rounds from puff pastry to fit over the tops of the pies. Brush the edges of the pie cases with a little egg and place the puff pastry on top; use a fork to seal the edges. If you like, use some of the pastry scraps to make lamb shapes to go on top. Brush the pie tops with egg; bake for about 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.

There it is. Lamb pies. Are you always looking for family recipes? Shall I keep sharing these or have I crossed the line into look at what we had for breakfast/lunch and dinner territory?

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