Monday, July 14, 2008

What kind of pie am I?

I love pies - savoury pies that is. I make them at least once every couple of weeks. I freeze leftovers for my lunches and eat them with a salad at work.

So, this is a lamb pie which has the ingredients of a Moroccan / Middle Eastern lamb pizza but is made in the style of a greek pie, i.e. snail-like in design. It was inspired by the lamb pizza I'm addicted to at St Ali (in South Melbourne) and my friend's lamb pie.


Minced lamb (500g - 1 kg)
Onions (1 or 2), chopped
Sweet chilli peppers, or capsicum (optional)
Flat leafed parsley, one bunch, chopped
Mint (some sprigs - you decide how much), chopped
Pine nuts (toasted)
Fresh tomatoes, grated (my lazy way of blanching) the skin stays whole, so chuck it out
Tomato paste (1 tbs or 2 or 3). My tomatoes were bland so I used 3
Juice of one lemon
1 tbs of cumin
Chilli (whatever kind and however much)
Thick filo pastry (buy from a greek or middle eastern supplier) or puff or shortcrust, or make your own. I guess thin filo pastry could work but I never use it myself.
Olive oil
Milk (for top of pie)
Sesame seeds
Poppy seeds or Nigella Seeds or both
Garlic, minced


(It looks a lot more complicated than it is)
  1. Cook onions and garlic till transparent. Add peppers. Cook till soft.
  2. Add minced lamb. Try to separate the meat so that it's not clumpy.
  3. Add all spices. Throw in them herbs and lemon, salt, pepper, pine nuts and chilli (see not so hard?) and cook until the meat is cooked through thoroughly (about 20 minutes, longer the more meat you have)
  4. Grease a pie dish with olive oil. I prefer a round dish for this.
  5. Open up one layer of thick filo pastry. (The one I buy is round... sorry I don't have pics... I started the blog after I made the pie!) Imagine that you are about to turn the flat sheet into a sausage roll. So do what you think you have to do to make that happen. I folded the edge of the pastry significantly to make it sturdy enough to hold the hot meat without ripping. Others put less innards in to avoid the rip but I prefer less pastry and more innards. So scoop a ladle's worth of meat onto the pastry... flatten the meat out if the pastry can't handle it in a big clump and roll into a sausage like shape. Make sure there is enough meat to go all the way to the edges.
  6. Place your sausage of lamb pie into the edge of the dish. Keep doing this with the rest of the meat and pastry spiraling in as you go.
  7. Brush the top of the pie with milk. Scatter sesame/poppy/nigella seeds on top. I know it's overkill but I put all three on top. (There aren't any poppy in the photo coz I ran out).
  8. Throw, splodge, scatter? What's the word? some olive oil on the top. Bake in an oven till the top is a nice crispy brown colour (about 25 mins)
  9. Serve with tzatziki (yoghurt with dill, garlic and cucumber) or just plain yoghurt; and a salad.

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