17 December 2008


It's the last week of school before the holidays, and the girls are running amok, ants in their pants, concentration out the window. Me too, I have to admit; sometimes, walking to school in the morning, it seems like I would rather be anywhere else than heading into the drab doors of school, wandering its dark, unhappy hallways, or looking out my tinted window onto the street below.

It's the perfect time for something hot from the oven, preferably wrapped in puff pastry with silky, melded meats and vegetables. There really isn't anything quite like the feel of something hot in your hand to stave of the chill and the drab--and these glorified hot-pockets fit the bill. My mom sent me this recipe a while ago, since she knows that I have a weakness for lamb, and for pastry (she prefers not to eat too much of either), and it's just great.

Australian Meat Pies, adapted from The Chicago Tribune

1 small Yukon gold potato
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound ground lamb
1 small can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
large pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 packages all-butter puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

1. Finely chop potato, onion, and garlic. Set aside in seperate bowls. Mash together butter and flour.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Tumble in onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add lamb and cook, stirring, until browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in potatoes and tomato. Season with cumin, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Cover, lower heat, and simmer about 30 minutes. Thicken my stirring in butter/flour mash. Add mint. Let cool.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry to a rectangle, to about 14 x 16 inches. Use a pizza wheel and cut into eight rectangles, each 7 x 4 inches.
5. Scoop 1/3 cup meat mixture onto each dough rectangle. Fold dough in half to cover. (Be sure to leave a good margin around the meat, so that when you fold the dough, you have enough to seal the spaces. Do NOT over fill the rectangles, because you will regret it and you will have oozy pies.) Press edges to seal. Beat together egg and water. Brush tops of meat pies with egg wash. Cut slits into the top of the pies with a small, sharp knife, for steam. Set pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Slide into oven and bake until golden and puffed, about 20 minutes. Cool, but not enough that you can't serve nice and toasty.

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