Lamb Pie

Lamb Pie
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This winter has been a good one, filled with family and a few fun days of sledding with our kids in the amazing Portland snow storm! There were also some tough days stuck inside with sick toddlers while husbands were out of town on business, but we made it.

Spring is almost here and we’re pretty sure the snow is officially gone. And now that daylight savings has come and gone, the days seem longer and on the occasional warm evening our husbands can take our kids to the park, while we finish up dinner. Not a bad deal, if you ask us.


We are looking forward to opening our windows, letting the fresh air in, turning down our thermostats, watching flowers bloom and playing in the sand box.

We are looking forward to opening our windows, letting the fresh air in, turning down our thermostats, watching flowers bloom and playing in the sand box. We are also looking forward to closing our computers, and paying less attention to social media during nap time in exchange for enjoying a book on the porch with a warm cup of tea. The social media, dreary-winter combination can start to wear on us after a while—watching other people on the beaches while we are playing with play dough with our littles for the fifth time this week.

Lamb Pie

But whenever we start to feel that twinge of longing for someone else’s seemingly perfect social media life, we remind ourselves that those are their highlights and we have ours too. Like dinner with good friends and family gatherings “just because”. And while a weekend in New York or a week in Paris would be a nice change for us stay at home moms, we are going to choose to be present. Knowing we are blessed and that our Mexico trip is just around the corner. We will enjoy quick trips to the emerald city of Seattle, explore Portland’s vast and amazing food culture and dream of the rolling hills of Ireland while we eat this lovely Shepherd’s Pie that we made to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Lamb Pie

Serves 8

Filling

2 lbs ground lamb
3 onions, chopped
2 carrots, small dice
4 garlic cloves
1 cup frozen peas
3 tbsp fresh thyme
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 (12 oz.) bottle stout
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp water
2 sheets puff pastry
salt and pepper

Potato Topping

4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup finely grated gruyere cheese

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease eight 4" disposable pie tins (found in the baking isle of your local grocery store), or eight oven proof cocottes. 
  2. Prepare filling by heating a large sauté pan and browning the ground lamb. Once all the meat is browned, use a slotted spoon to set the meat aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Sauté onions and carrots until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add the meat back in with the onion mixture. Add to dish, thyme, stout and stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
  3. Mix cornstarch and water to form a paste. Stir through meat mixture until fully combined. Add the peas then return dish to oven for 30 more minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling pies, or pastry will become soggy.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°.
  5. To prepare the topping, boil potatoes in salted water. Drain and add cream, butter, salt and pepper. Mash until completely smooth and set aside.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out pastry to ⅛ in thick, using a sharp knife to cut into 8 squares. Avoid stretching the dough, or edges will not puff. Ease pastry into prepared tin. You should have four corners hanging over the edge of each tin.
  7. Fill lined tins with meat mixture to the rim. Using a spoon or pastry bag, spread potatoes on top of the filling and fold overhanging corners on top of the mash to create a tight seal. Using a pastry brush paint the top of the pies with the egg wash and sprinkle with cheese. Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

*This recipe was inspired by the cookbook of a small cafe in New Zealand, Little and Friday.