To me, nothing quite says mid-week winter dinner like a good home-made pie. I have never been a huge fan of pies, there was a time when I refused to put my mouth to a store bought pie, and even now I will only buy a pie that has chicken in it. My fear of biting into something unfamiliar and unrecognizable is just to great to take the gamble with meat pies. And chicken is chicken, but not all meat cuts have been created equally. I’m also not a huge fan of stewy gravy type food, because I don’t enjoy food that goes onto the stove and cooks together in the same pot where it all becomes a bit mushy and where everything starts tasting the same (that’s why I cannot eat soup that still has little pieces of meat or vegetables floating around – has to be puréed or nothing). Side-note, while we’re on food fussiness: As old as I am, I am still a very fussy eater and absolutely hate it when my food touches each other on the plate, everything has to be completely separate. But as I have grown up a bit more, I have matured more in the taste of food and flavours, and being able to cook food to my own liking has been a huge advantage. So now I can appreciate a good home-made meat pie because I know exactly what has gone into it and I can adapt the flavours and ingredients to suit my taste.
So on to the Moroccan Meat Pie. First of all, I make my own pastry (again, being able to know exactly what goes into my food is really satisfying). Nothing against store bought pastry, I have some in my freezer at the moment and use it for heaps of other things. But once you have tried this pastry you will never be able to imagine using anything else when making a pie. I can honestly say that it is the best pastry I have ever tasted around a pie and I absolutely cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s a recipe I found in an old Woman’s Weekly, and have made it heaps of times and never fails. It only requires three ingredients and if you’ve got a food processor, it literally takes less than 10 minutes to make.
The filling is normally whatever I feel like at the time, for this one I made a Moroccan lamb filling with pine nuts and roasted butternut. My other favourite is making a butter chicken filling, but really you can use what ever meat filling you fancy.
Sour Cream Pastry
2¼ cups plain flour
125g butter, cold and cubed
½ cup sour cream
salt to taste
In a food processor, blitz the butter and the flour together until it resembles a fine crumb.
Add the sour cream and salt and process until the dough just starts coming together, about a minute.
Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
To assemble pies: roll two-thirds of the pastry until large enough to cut six 13cm rounds (approximately 3mm thick).
Press the six rounds into the holes of a Texas muffin pan (the holes are almost twice the size of the holes in a regular muffin pan).
Fill with filling of choice (see below for Moroccan Lamb filling).
Roll out the remainder of the pastry large enough to cut six 9cm rounds. Cover each pie and press the edges to seal.
Brush the tops with egg and sprinkle with some dried coriander.
Bake the pies for approximately 30 minutes or until brown.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and green salad.
Moroccan Lamb Filling
500g lamb, cubed
2 tbs plain flour
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
½ cup beef stock
200g tinned tomato
finely grated lemon rind
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs ground coriander
handful of chopped fresh coriander
salt and pepper to taste
half a butternut, cubed and roasted
2 tbs pine nuts
Toss the cubed lamb to coat with the flour and seal the meat by frying in a hot pan for about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the heat.
In a heavy based pan or pot (that has a lid), over medium heat cook the onion then add the lamb, stock, tomato, lemon rind and juice, cumin, coriander and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low then cover and simmer gently for about an hour and 15 minutes.
Add the roasted butternut, pine nuts and fresh coriander and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the gravy thickens.
…be fearless, and have fun!