I have twice hosted Irish Supper Clubs for St Patrick’s Day in my alter ego, Mustard Seed, and last year knowing I had a lot of big, hungry, meat eating men I prepared this Kerry Pie as a starter choice – the alternative was a whiskey cured smoked salmon with pan boxty! It went down very well, so I share it with you here for St Patrick’s Day. It’s from Darina Allen’s “Irish Traditional Cooking” which is a treat.
- 1lb (450 g) boneless lamb or mutton, (from the shoulder or leg – keep the bones for stock)
- 10 oz (285 g) onions
- 10 oz (285 g) carrots
- 2½ Tbsp flour
- 1¼ cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) mutton or lamb stock
- 1 tsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups (12 oz/ 350 g white flour
- pinch of salt
- 1½ stick (6 oz/ 175 g) Irish butter, diced
- ½ cup (4 fl oz/ 110 ml) water
- 1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt (for egg wash/glaze)
- Cut all the surplus fat off the meat, then cut the meat into small neat pieces Cook the scraps of fat in a hot, wide saucepan until the fat runs, then discard.
- Cut the vegetables into slightly smaller dice and toss them in the fat, leaving them to cook for 3–4 minutes. Remove the vegetables and toss the meat in the remaining fat over a high heat until the colour turns.
- Stir the flour into the meat. Cook gently for 2 minutes and blend in the stock gradually. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Return the vegetables to the pan with the parsley and thyme leaves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and leave to simmer. If using young lamb, 30 minutes will be sufficient; an older lamb may take up to 1 hour. When the lamb is cooked, allow it to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Put the butter cubes into a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Pour the liquid all at once into the flour and mix together quickly with a fork; beat until smooth. At first the pastry will be too soft to handle, but it will become more workable as it cools.
- Roll out two-thirds of the pastry to 5mm (¼ inch) thick and use to line the base of your tin(s). (I used a deep 12 hole muffin stone!)
- Fill the pastry-lined tins with the slightly cooled meat mixture. Cut lids from the remaining pastry, brush the edges of the base with water and egg wash and put on the pastry lids, pinching them tightly together to seal.
- Decorate the pie with the trimmings – I had a little shamrock cutter. Make a hole in the centre and brush the pastry carefully with egg wash.
- Bake the pie or pies at 400ºF/200ºC/Gas Mark 6 for about 40 minutes.