Lamb Shank Pies

When I started my blog, I had great intentions for it to be a fairly even mix of recipes out of my kitchen and my thoughts in eating out in Perth.  Since then, I feel like life has been so busy that I feel like I spend every weekend eating out and catching up with friends and family.  Not that this is something to complain about, but it does make a little sad that I don’t have as much time for cooking as I would like. So when I found myself with an entire afternoon to myself last weekend, I decided to invest some time and effort into making slow cooked lamb shank pies for my housemates.You can be pretty easy going when you are slow cooking lamb shanks – as long as there is enough liquid to cover them while they are cooking it doesn’t matter TOO much what you throw in the pot.  So when your making this recipe, if there is something you think you might want more or less of, then feel free to adapt it to suit yourself. Depending on the size of your slow cooker/pot you may not need all the liquid elements on this recipe, or you may need more than that is listed to cover the lamb shanks.

In terms of what you cook the lamb shanks in – I have limited choices when it comes to pots and pans (the tragedy of the share-house) so I used a non stick casserole dish, but I think a dutch oven type dish would work best as you would get a better heat distribution.  If you only have a slow cooker, you could cook them in that, you will just need to let the lamb cook for a few more hours.

I also had some of my own fresh puff pastry I had made in the thermomix, but you could just as easily buy some pre made puff pastry to make the process a little more simple. If you are going to make it, do so while the lamb shanks are simmering away and keep it in the fridge until you need it.

If you have leftovers from this dish, which will depend on the size of your lamb shanks and the size of your pie dishes, this pie filling also goes really well with pasta the next day.

Ingredients

Pie Filling

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 leek, green leaves removed and finely sliced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
  •  4 lamb shanks
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 100g of butter
  • 3 cups of thinly sliced mushrooms (or about 4 good handfuls)
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of mustard (I used wholegrain, but it doesn’t matter too much)
  • 1 bottle of red wine (preferably shiraz).  You can swap this out for stock if you don’t have any wine, or want to be a little healthier
  • 2 tsp beef stock (powdered)
  • 1 tsp of caster sugar
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
  • 10g of thyme
  • 10g of oregano
  • 1 egg, beaten

Puff Pastry (adapted from Cooking with Tenina)

  • 180 g of unsalted butter
  • 90g of ice cubes
  • 200g of flour (type 00 or bakers flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20-30g of vodka (optional, but will evaporate in the cooking process leaving your pastry lighter and flakier)

Method

Pie Filling

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan over a medium heat, and fry the leek, onions and garlic until they are soft (about 10 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.
  2.  Put the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag, and one by one shake each lamb shank in the bag to coat with the dry mixture.  Shake off any excess, and fry in a hot pan until seared on each side.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Put the onion mixture back in the pan, along with the butter and mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are well browned.
  4. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a large casserole dish, pot, slow cooker, dutch oven or your cooking implement of choice.
  5. Add the lamb shanks, tinned tomato, mustard, half the red wine, beef stock powder, caster sugar, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. At this point, the lamb should be completely covered in liquid. If not, add more water/stock/wine until it is.
  6. Bring to the boil, then turn the temperature down to low,place a lid on the pot, and allow to simmer for around 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.  Keep an eye on the sauce, and if the meat becomes exposed at any point add more liquid to keep it covered. Now would be the time to make the pastry, if you are planning on doing so (see below)
  7. When the meat is cooked, remove the lamb shanks from the sauce.  Using a fork, pull the meat off the bones and shred.  When all the meat is removed, set the bones aside, add the meat back into the sauce, turn up the heat and allow to cook for a little bit longer to reduce the sauce. At this point, the mixture should be thick enough that you can put it into the pie without it being too liquidy.  If it isn’t, strain a bit of the liquid out until it is the right consistency.
  8. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  9. Take you 4 pie dishes, and line the insides with pastry.  Almost fill with the lamb mixture, and then place the bones from the lamb shank into the pies. Cut out circles to cover the top of your pies, and then cut small holes in the middle of these and push down over the bone onto the pie. Push the pastry together at the sides with your fingers, and cut off any excess.
  10. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, and place in the oven for 30 minutes (or until pastry is firm and golden).
  11. Turn upside down, and serve pies with your side of choice (we had polenta chips!) and a glass of red wine.

Puff Pastry

  1. Cut butter into cubes and freeze for half an hour
  2. Place butter, ice cubes, flour and salt into the bowl
  3. Chop 7 seconds speed 7
  4. Mix 5 seconds speed 5 (reverse)
  5. Knead for three minutes while adding the vodka through the hole in the lid
  6. Push together into a rectangle and wrap in a tea towel or baking paper.  Pop this in  the fridge for half an hour.
  7. Roll out dough into a large rectangle, and then fold over in thirds to make an envelope shape.  Turn the pastry so the folded edge is facing you and repeat.  Continue until you have a flexible pastry – but be careful not to go too far or you will overwork the pastry!
  8. Roll into a sheet about 1cm thick, and cut as required to cover your pie dishes.

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