Australians love meat pies, especially when the meat is ground, or “minced.” Individual hand pies made in tins (a large muffi n pan is ideal) make perfect snacks or take-along lunches. Our version is for a family-sized pie with a delicious Indian-inspired ground lamb fi lling that you can make a day in advance. Classic meat pies have a short pastry crust base and a puff pastry top layer, but we’re simplifying the dish with a short pastry crust topper. Note: See the Chinese Chicken Dumpling recipe on page 13 if you’d prefer to grind boneless lamb chunks yourself.
For the filling:
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
- 1 serrano chile, stemmed and seeded
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, about 12 ounces, finely diced
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garam masala or your favorite curry blend*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the short pastry crust:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pie plate
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 5 tablespoons cold water
For the assembly:
- 1 large egg
Make the filling: Place the garlic, ginger, and chile pepper in a small food processor or grinder, and mince. Heat a deep frying pan and, when hot, add the olive oil and the mince, and sauté for a minute. Add the onions and sauté until they’re soft. Add the ground lamb and cook until browned, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle on the spices and stir. Add the tomatoes
and peas, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and
adjust the salt and black pepper as needed. Sprinkle on the cilantro. (If making ahead, let cool and then cover and refrigerate.)
Make the crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly oil a deep 9-inch pie plate. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add the 1/2 cup olive oil and mix with a fork. Add the vinegar and water, mixing them in with your hands (if it seems too dry, add another tablespoon of water). Use your hands to form the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Place the larger one between two pieces of waxed paper (for easy rolling) and roll out to a 12-inch circle. Transfer to the prepared pie plate, pressing it down and trimming the edges as needed with a sharp knife. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and fill halfway up with pie weights (or two pounds of dried beans). Bake for 20 minutes, remove the parchment and pie weights, and bake for another 5 minutes, until golden. While it’s baking, roll out the smaller ball of dough between the sheets of waxed paper to a 10-inch circle.
Fill the baked pie shell with the lamb mixture, smoothing the top. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork and brush it along the edges of the baked crust. Cover the pie with the 10-inch circle of dough, using the tines of a fork to press down the edges and then trimming as needed. Brush the raw dough with more beaten egg. Use the tip of a sharp knife to make 4 or 5 vents in the center of the pie and bake for 30 minutes or until the top browns. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.