Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lamb Meat Pies

Best Leftovers EVER! – So Far.

These take some work – but freeze wonderfully – so make a double (or more) recipe, and have quick suppers or party food on hand.

Lamb Meat pies... & Yogurt Sauce
Equipment :
Cookie Sheet/½ Sheet pan
Rolling pin
4 – 5” circular cookie cutter
Large bowl
Dish towels (non-fuzzy)
Spoon (regular size)
Small sauté or sauce pan

optional - collander

Leftover roasted potatoes

Leftover Lamb stew  
(actually any hearty filling works… don’t be scared - 
the British go with corned beef and smashed potatoes)

2 Tbs flour
1 Tbs butter or oil

1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs sugar
1 C warm (105˚F) water + another ½ Cup

4 C AP flour + more for dusting
Non-stick cooking spray

Optional for yogurt sauce:
½ C plain yogurt
a large handful of thinly sliced cucumber
1 tsp salt
fresh herbs (mint, parsley, basil – any combination to your taste)
1 – 2 cloves crushed garlic
more salt to taste.

Mix yeast, salt, sugar & 1 C water.  Set aside until it is a little frothy.
Pour as much broth out of the stew as you can – at least a cup.  If it is more – great.  If less, make up to at least a cup with water or vegetable or chicken broth.
Chop the meat up into smallish pieces, add it and the roasted potatoes into your stew.

Optional yogurt sauce: thinly slice cucumber, sprinkle with the tsp of salt  - let sit for 10 – 30 min.
Rinse off the salt, lay the cucumber on one of the dishtowels.  Roll up and squeeze mercilessly.  It is now drained and ready for the yogurt sauce. (can be refrigerated for later at this stage)

 In a large bowl, stir the yeasty water into the flour.  Stir with a fork – or your hands.  Add a little more water until it starts to hold together in one dough ball.  Work on a floured counter – kneading to make a stiff dough (or use your mixer with a dough hook).  When it has all come together, divide into 2 balls, cover with a clean towel and set aside for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F

Make a roux from the broth from the stew.  A roux, you ask, what’s that?*
In a small sauté pan over med high heat, add the flour, stir it gently to toast the flour lightly (it will start to smell a little like… toast), add the butter or oil, stir to coat all the flour particles.  Let the mixture froth for about a minute. 
While whisking the mixture, pour in your stew liquid, a dribble at a time, making sure to stir in each dribble.  
When all the liquid is stirred in, set aside, let it cool, and admire your roux.  Taste it, and see if it needs salt.  Correct any deficiencies. It will help make your meat pies extra delicious.

After you finish your roux, the dough is ready for the next step.
Roll out one dough ball to about 1/8” thickness (this is a workout) and cut out circles.  Lay them out on your baking sheet – do the same with the other ball.  Combine the scraps, and make a few more rounds (expect 12 – 16 circles).

Cover with a clean towel and let these rise for 15 more minutes.

Set up your meat pie assembly station:

The stew with the chopped meat + potatoes
Your tasty roux
Dough circles
A baking pan with non-stick spray (or a Silpat)

Layout your dough circles – place about 1 tsp of roux on the bottom, and a heaping tablespoon of stew in the center. 
Pinch together the circle half way up one side, then bring the other side up to make a triangle – or something that looks like a three cornered hat.  Squeeze the seams together leaving a little space for steam to escape at the top.

Place these on the baking pan – pop in the oven.  Cook for about 30 minutes – until they start to take on a lightly toasted appearance - if you are planning on serving right away.

If they are headed for the freezer, stop the cooking at 10 minutes, cool, freeze on a flat pan, and seal in a zip top bag or other airtight container when they are solid.

Reheat at 350˚F in a baking pan covered with foil for about 25 minutes – when they take on a light golden color, and the gravy is bubbling inside.

If you’d like the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, drained cucumbers, herbs, garlic and salt to your taste, and serve with the meat pies.

Excellent party food!  And from stew – who knew?

*Cajun cooking may have made roux famous – in its variety (white, brown, brick etc…) but roux comes from French cooking, the stodgy grandparent of Cajun Cuisine.  Really, it’s just a quick way to thicken or add body to any sauce.  Get the hang of this technique – and gravy at Thanksgiving will be something you can do with one hand tied behind your back.

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