MASTERCLASS: Homemade Lamb & Mint Pies

You may remember a few weeks ago, I ventured into unknown territory and made puff pastry. It was an eye-opener to how time-consuming it is but the outcome was well worth it. Not to mention how scrumptious the beef, fennel & fig sausage rolls were! I was clever enough to make a large portion and therefore froze a batch of puff pastry for another time. Today was that other time! Lamb & mint pies were on the agenda and I could not wait to get my teeth into this prize!

I was surprised how pliable the dough was, even after being in the freezer for close to a month. I wondered if I should have rolled it out into a flat sheet, just like you find it in the shops, but I am happy to say it was no effort to roll out the dough to the size I was after.

The last few weeks, I have been trying a few different recipes, using ingredients I don’t have a lot of familiarity with, and it’s been a bit of a hit and miss kind of experience. But today I decided I would make a dish that required ingredients I am familiar with.

Cooking the mince was pretty straight forward; just like you would do for spaghetti bolognese really, but I added a few extra herbs and spices and let it gently simmer for over an hour – best way to get those flavours bursting through, I believe!

I found the dough easy to handle and the trick to it was to roll it out quickly while it was cold. At one stage, I needed to put a portion of the dough back in the fridge, but that was all good and I was able to use all the dough.

I allowed the filling to cool before scooping it into the cases using a ladle, adding a little extra chopped fresh mint and we were on our way! Lids on, sealed with a little egg and pinching the two layers together was perfectly finished off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

These were super easy to make and with only 20-30 minutes of baking in a moderate oven, dinner was looking fantabulously good!

I really enjoyed making something that would be considered “an old-fashioned avourite” and I can see why – full of flavour, relatively easy and it’s good for you!

I think I will get “an old-fashioned favourite” theme happening over the next few weeks and dust off my golden oldie recipe books and bring some favourites to the table!

“Food is memories”… The One-Hundred Foot Journey movie reminded me the other day – and I remember the raspberry coconut slice my children’s grandma used to make, the rice pudding my mum would place before us often on a cold winter’s morning and the vanilla matchsticks we would eat at school!

So I invite you to come on this journey with me – let’s make some memories and re-create a few of these oldies with a new twist.

But first, here is the recipe for my lamb & mint pies.

LAMB & MINT PIES

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon minced chilli
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar (middle eastern spice mix)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 700g lamb mince
  • 1 can (400g) Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint, plus extra
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 batch puff pastry (800g) – bought or homemade ahead of time
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 Method

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add leek, garlic and chilli. Saute for a few minutes. Add za’atar, spices and honey. Stir to coat leek.
  2. Add mince to the leek mixture and brown lightly. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine and season. Bring to boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cool.
  3. Roll out pastry to 4mm thick. Measure out to fit a pie tin (9cm base x 12cm top). Cut out 6 pies bases and 6 pie lids. Spoon in the filling, sprinkle a little extra mint and cover with lid, pinching edges together. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Make a couple of small slits on top to allow steam to escape during cooking process. Bake in oven (180*C) for 25-30 minutes or until golden.