These days, I am extremely fickle when it comes to meal ideas. With massive cravings and nightly food-related dreams (I kid you not), I just could not decide on what to cook but in most cases, convenience and ingredients on hand dictate what I eventually end up cooking. So yesterday I thawed some frozen lamb and considered making an African dish I cooked a few years ago called Liboké de Viande (Meat in Banana-Leaf) but I ran out of peanuts and didn’t feel like having any rice to accompany the flavoursome dish . With fresh rosemary, carrots and onions on hand, I settled for classic lamb and rosemary pies; recipe sourced from Taste.com.au. As I did not have 600 grams of diced lamb, I substituted the variance with diced potatoes. I think there were some errors on the recipe with the quantity of puff pastry sheets required but as with most home-cooking, nothing’s set in stone so you adjust accordingly; in this case, I used 3 instead of 2 pastry sheets and there was a lot of pastry patchwork involved! This rough-and-tumble approach to the pastry produced a rustic looking pie. They were delicious with a simple salad on the side dressed in nothing but balsamic vinegar and very good extra virgin olive oil.
Lamb & Rosemary Pies
(adapted from recipe on Taste.com.au. Items in italics are additional notes)
serves 4 ( I made 5 pies)
3 sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
600g diced lamb leg, cut into 2cm pieces (or 400 g diced lamb + 200 g desiree potatoes, diced into 2 cm pieces)
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, peeled, diced
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock
cracked black pepper, to taste (not too much so it doesn’t overpower the lamb and rosemary flavours)
olive oil cooking spray
2 sheets frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, partially thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
optional – nigella seeds to decorate
- Remove leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs. Cut remaining sprig into 4. Set aside. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add lamb. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove to a plate.
- Add onion, garlic, carrot and rosemary leaves to pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Combine tomato paste, wine and stock in a jug. Add to pan. Cook, stirring, until sauce
comes to the boil. Return lamb (and add diced potatoes if using) to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until lamb is tender. (if mixture looks too thick, you can thin it down with a little more beef stock; taste and adjust seasoning and cracked black pepper accordingly). Set aside to cool. (Do not fill pastry cases with hot filling as the pastry will become soggy)
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Spray four 3/4-cup capacity Texas muffin holes with oil. Cut two 15cm rounds and two 9cm rounds from each pastry sheet. Use large rounds to line muffin holes. Fill with lamb mixture. Brush edges with water. Top with remaining pastry rounds. Press edges to seal. Brush tops with egg. Press in rosemary sprigs (and a sprinkling of nigella seeds if using). (you will need at least 3 puff pastry sheets; to prevent wastage, you can use the pastry offcuts to line the remaining 2-3 muffin holes; patch any holes or gaps to prevent the filling from leaking)
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around pie edges to loosen. Remove from pan. Serve.
- To freeze: Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Place, in a single layer, in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks.
- To reheat: Thaw in the fridge for 12 hours. Place pies on a baking tray and heat in a 180°C oven for 15 minutes.