I’ve been wanting to do a savory meat pie kind of dinner for a while now. The only problem was it was 90 degrees out and there wasn’t much motivation to turn on the stove for hours at a time. It isn’t the time it takes to cook everything into tender deliciousness as much as the need to counter all the heat generated by your stovetop. Lucky for me the weather took a turn towards cool and refreshing just long enough to get these made.
You could make this kind of dish with either beef or lamb, but I decided on lamb because this felt like a special treat and I rarely get to eat lamb. Small baking dishes, like the ones David and I used to make this, turn each pie into a hearty single serving topped with decadent puff pastry.
1 lb lamb, two shoulder chops or similar with bone in
1-1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. butter
3 carrots, diced (3 small or 2 medium carrots)
3 celery sticks, diced
1 whole small to medium sized yellow onion, diced
3 sprigs of thyme
Beef stock, lowest salt content you can get
Salt and pepper, to taste
Puff pastry, from the freezer section of your store, thawed according to package instructions
Egg wash, 1 egg and 1 tbsp. water beaten together
Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Get a sauté pan very hot, try preheating a minute or so before adding the oil, and add the lamb. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes to get the outside nice and brown. Set the lamb aside and reduce the heat to medium. Add butter and cook the onion, carrots and celery together. Each vegetable should be chopped into pieces of roughly the same size.
Cook the vegetables until they are starting to get soft and the onions are beginning to brown. Stir in the sprigs of thyme and pour beef stock over the vegetables until they are slightly covered. Bring the pan up to a bubble and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Place the lamb on top and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for two hours or more, until the lamb is tender and falling off the bone, adding more beef stock as necessary to keep the pan hydrated.
Once the lamb is tender, take it out of the pan and shred the meat into smaller chunks, removing any bones that might have been attached to the meat originally. Stir the shredded meat back into the vegetables and reduced stock. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry using a rolling pin to smooth out the folds in the pastry sheet. Using the edge of your baking dishes as a guide, cut out pieces of puff pastry for the top of your pie(s). Fill the baking dishes with the lamb mixture, top the dish with the pastry and brush it with the egg wash. (You may wish to poke a few holes in the top to let steam escape). Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with the caveat that the dishes have just been in a hot oven and are, in fact, hot. (Says a person who has touched the handle of pans recently removed from 500 degree ovens on accident)! Enjoy!