Colman Andrews | Yield: 8
This traditional Irish recipe for rustic hand-pies stuffed with lamb makes a savory treat. These pies are a staple at Ireland's oldest festival, Puck Fair.
FOR THE SHORTCRUST
- 2 cups (250g) white pastry flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170g) cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water
FOR THE PIES
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound boneless lamb, preferably from the Lamb Shoulder or Leg of Lamb, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups beef or lamb stock
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 recipe shortcrust
- 2 tablespoons milk
- At least 1 hour before you plan on baking the pies, make the shortcrust. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the beaten egg and toss with a fork, gradually adding in 1 to 3 tablespoons more of cold water, until the dough can be gathered into a ball.
- Halve the dough on a board lightly dusted with flour, and pat each half into a 4- to 5-inch disk. Wrap each disk separately in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour, or as long as 24 hours before using.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring often, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, reduce the heat, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Slowly add the stock, stirring to deglaze the pan. Return the vegetables to the skillet, add the mint and thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes more. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured board into a disk about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the disk into 8 rounds about 4-inches in diameter with a cookie cutter or floured rim of a glass. Repeat the process with the remaining pastry to make 16 rounds in all.
- Put about one-eigth of the meat mixture in the middle of a pastry round, then wet the edges with a bit of water. Top with a second pastry round, then press down the edges and crimp with the times of a fork. Cut a small slit in the top of each pie and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining filling and pastry, arranging the pies about 1-inch apart on the sheet. Brush the tops of the pies with milk and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.