Handheld pies have always seemed like the ultimate baking challenge to me and one that I have avoided for quite some time. We have a lot of incredible handheld pies in bakeries and the like up and down the country and I think I’ve always thought: why compete with great food. Maybe it was just laziness or maybe it was just a little too much uncertainty, but whatever it was its meant that these incredible handheld lamb pies have been locked away in my head for far longer than they should have been.
Minted Lamb Pies
There is so much going on here that I’m not sure what to tell you about first: the fall-apart chucks of lamb, slow cooked with onions, mint and garlic; the heavenly, horseradish mash sitting perfectly on the top and baked until golden; or the rich mint and rosemary gravy poured lovingly over the top to give that perfect finish. Its all fabulous and its all so tasty that this is another one of those meals that I ate on the floor after having photographed it from every angle possible.
The Best Pies Ever
So these pies weren’t just knocked up in an afternoon, there was 2 lengthy stages involving the careful craft of what I am now calling one of my best ever meals. This is not an over exaggeration; I’m so over the moon with these pies that I definitely feel a pie night coming on, just so that I can go pie crazy and then stuff my face with all this deliciousness.
Stage 1: The Filling
The first part of making these pies was to create the filling. I wanted this to be a rich and gooey filling with shredded lamb, mint, gravy and garlic. I wanted the filling to be the show stopper and to have a strong flavour that would keep pulling you back for more. Lamb was the obvious choice as its spring and lamb is everywhere, plus it makes a nice change from the usual steak and ale or meat and potato.
I decided I would use my slow cooker to cook the lamb filling, mainly so the flavours would have chance to infuse but also to ensure the lamb would come out nice and tender. However, cooking in the oven will work just as well. I used diced leg of lamb, which I was recommended by my local butcher at Lymefield farm shop, as its a leaner cut and so doesn’t need as much cooking time in order to reach that ‘fall apart’ stage. So this meant I didn’t need to worry too much about the order of the ingredients or exactly what to include. I started the filling off with chopped onions, garlic and lamb and then added beef stock, gravy powder, flour, red wine, ketchup (yes ketchup), worcestershire sauce and dried mint. Then everything went into the slow cooker on a low heat for 6 hours. The results after 6 hours were amazing.
Stage 2: Creating the pies
As I had put so much effort into my filling I decided to take the easy option with the pastry and went for shop bought, pre-rolled. In my humble opinion shop bought stuff is just as good as homemade and makes life so much easier. For the pie moulds I used my game pie mould set, which is basically a tray of 6 mini pie moulds. I removed some of the pieces to create 3 larger (10cm/4inch diameter), round pie moulds. Please note that the link to the pie moulds is an affiliate link, which means if you do click this link and then go onto purchase the product, I will receive a small commission. But don’t confuse this with a mark up – you won’t be paying any extra 🙂 If you do click and buy – Thank you!! I will only ever link to and promote products that I have tried and tested myself.
In all fairness these pies just about fit the criteria of handheld, although they are a little on the larger side. This recipe makes three 10cm diameter pies. If you’re super hungry then one if these pies will fill you up quite nicely. But if you’re after something a little smaller I’d recommend one pie between two, maybe served with a few greens.
Hopefully this will be the start of plenty more pies with all manner of filling. Although I’m loving the mashed potato top, so this may have to be a transferable thing between pies 🙂 Happy baking!!
**Estimated nutritional information per serving and per 100g of potato cake and quinoa salad. If you want to find out more about how the information is calculated and the sources used, please refer to my Nutrition Information Guide.
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I am linking this recipe to #cookblogshare hosted by hijackedbytwins and Easypeasyfoodie. I am also linking to #brilliantblogposts by honestmum, #CookOnceEatTwice hosted by seachingforspice, #slowcookedchallenge hosted by BakingQueen74, and #simpleandinseason hosted by feedingboys.