LAMB PIE

Use a deep pie plate or cake pan that's around 9 inches.


for the shortcrust pastry (check out tips):

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

16 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks and very cold

3-6 tablespoons ice water


for the filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic 

1 pound ground lamb

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 bay leaf

1 can (14.5 ounces) of diced tomatoes in their juices

1 cup frozen peas

8 slices of sharp cheddar cheese (or enough to cover filling)

1 egg

1 tablespoon heavy cream or half and half


for the dough:

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into 1/2 inch square chunks and toss into dry ingredients. With your fingers or a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until the butter chunks are the size of peas. Add half the cold water and mix it in with a fork. Add more water if you need to, enough so that when you squeeze the mixture in your fingers it's just moist enough to form a dough. Split mixture into 2 piles on 2 large pieces of plastic wrap. Use the sides of the plastic wrap to press each pile of dough into a 1 inch high disc. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling them out.

Roll out one disc of dough until it's a bit bigger than your pie dish. Place shell in dish firmly (leave edges untrimmed for now) and put it the fridge. Roll out the other piece of dough until it's about the same size. Place on a sheet pan in the fridge until your filling is ready. Cover the dough with plastic wrap if it's going to be more than an hour.

for the filling:

Heat large saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle in olive oil. Add onion. Add salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Press or grate in garlic and cook for one minute stirring constantly. Add ground lamb and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook while stirring until lamb is no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add tomato paste, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and bay leaf.  Cook for about 20 minutes to bring the flavors together and to reduce down the liquid. Remove the bay leaf. Turn off the heat and stir in the frozen peas. You can let it cool all the way and put in the refrigerator or freezer until later or bake the pie right away. The filling doesn't have to be cooled off when you bake the tart.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Remove pie pan from fridge. Pour lamb filling into the shell. Place cheddar slices all over the top of the filling. Place rolled out pie shell on top of the filling and cheese. Pinch the top and bottom shells together with your fingers or a fork. You can make scalloped edges with your thumb. You can even put a fancy pattern on top of the dough with the dough scraps. Whisk egg with cream or half and half. Paint the top of the pie with a thin layer of the egg mixture. Slice a few decorative holes on top of the pie for steam to escape. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 60-75 minutes.

Serve just the way it is. Or serve with yogurt and pomegranate seeds.


VARIATIONS:

1. Make mini pies in ramekins. 

2. Omit pastry crust and instead cover the filling with mashed potatoes. Bake until potatoes are golden brown.


DASH AND BELLA
http://www.dashandbella.blogspot.com

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