19 February 2015

Lamb and potato pasties - oh yes please!

Here we go then!  The last recipe that takes care of the leftovers from the beautiful rolled lamb shoulder that I used for the Minty Aromatic Pulled Lamb Pittas and the Crunchy Lamb Spring Rolls.  Well, if you discount the socking great - and delicious - cold roast lamb and mint jelly sandwich I had for lunch with the very last bits, that is.  Many, many thanks go out to Farmers Choice (Free Range) Ltd, for providing such a versatile and delicious, top quality piece of lamb.

This was another of hubby's bright ideas, that - in my opinion - worked even better than the Spring Roll recipe did.

Because it was a simple recipe - just the pre-cooked lamb, potatoes and a few small peas - I pondered for a while over how to inject more flavour into the whole thing.  I was concerned that the gentle flavour of the lamb, together with the relative blandness of the potato, would all be too wishy washy to stand up to the pastry.  I'm sure you're all well  aware of how a large quantity of pastry can obliterate even the heartiest of flavours.


Adding flavours to the lamb wasn't a good idea as it had been cooked for a long slow cook originally and had received quite enough cooking time, especially as it was about to go back into the oven in the pasties.  Because of the spicing of the lamb, it carried a good pronounced flavour already.  So that basically just left the potato.  What could I do, to cheer up the potato?

I remembered how, in the past, I would cook new potatoes and add a teaspoonful of mint sauce - the vinegary one, not mint jelly - to them before serving.  I had to stop doing that when my son developed a hatred of vinegar, but I crossed my fingers that just a teaspoonful in the pasty filling mixture wouldn't offend.  It would give a nice background minty flavour, whilst the vinegar would give a high flavour note to broaden the depth of those already there.  Well, it sounded good to me.

I wanted to keep the potato in chunks - cubes, if we're being pedantic - so mixing anything with it that would break the cubes down into mash would be bad.  So the only other route to flavouring the potato was to cook it in something.  The obvious thing was to break out the Essential Cuisine Lamb Stock that is always at the ready.  Providing a lovely lamb stock to cook the potatoes in would ensure that they absorb great flavour and enhance the lamb side of things, which after all was the star of the show.  If you've not been converted to Essential Cuisine's stocks, do feel free to use a lamb stock cube.  I would heartily recommend you use a low salt one, for obvious reasons.

I had always intended to par boil the potato - so as to prevent any nasty crunchy potato crises in the finished product - and this was the perfect answer.


In fact, it worked beautifully.  To eat a cube of potato on its own, the lamb flavour wasn't all that big and "in your face", to quote the vernacular.  However, when put in conjunction with the lamb itself and the mint - which was entirely in context in this use - it all came together in a harmonious and flavoursome whole which stood up perfectly to the domination of the pastry.

The pastry could bear some discussion here, as I chose to use shortcrust pastry.  Just because the only commercially produced sausage rolls and pasties you can buy use puff or flaky pastry, does not mean that it is the only pastry that should be used.

So the long and the short of it is the advice that if you prefer puff or flaky - or any other kind of pastry - then by all means use your preferred type.  So long as it encases the filling satisfactorily, it matters not.

The quantities given below, filled three pasties of approximately 8 inches across.  So if you are intending on making more, you'll need to increase the quantities accordingly.

They really are the most uncomplicated things to make - and if you retain the liquid from cooking the potatoes, then add some gravy granules to it (I heartily recommend Bisto's Best Lamb Gravy), you will have a tasty gravy for those who enjoy gravy with their pasty.  Yes, I know, there will be sharp intakes of breath all around because of the encouragement to use gravy granules - but as a swift and effective means to a tasty gravy, it will forever beat the other more long winded ways of achieving the same end result - that of some tasty gravy.


Now I'm not particularly a pasty kind of a gal, but I really enjoyed mine.  On a scale of one to brilliant, these pasties rate right up there on the brilliant side.  Son and heir gave his the thumbs up too - and even took care of the last one for lunch the following day.  Hubby was out that night and didn't indulge, so I'm afraid we can't ask his opinion on the taste test!  Oh and incidentally, son and heir didn't notice the use of the mint sauce in the pasty beyond suspiciously asking whether I'd used mint jelly (he hates that too) in there.  Once reassured that it was mint sauce, not mint jelly, he was appeased.  Well, he had to have been - he ate two of them!

I served our pasties with oven baked salt & pepper potato wedges and a side of mushy peas.  Well, it seemed fitting to go with humble food.  By all means serve yours with a salad, or with steamed vegetables if that's what you like.  The pasties won't mind!

LAMB & POTATO PASTIES   (serves 3)

Ingredients :

340g shortcrust pastry
1 egg yolk
1 large potato, diced small
1.5 tsp Essential Cuisine lamb stock powder or a low salt lamb stock cube
1.5 tbsp (or thereabouts) Bisto Best lamb gravy granules
250g roasted lamb shoulder, diced
2 tbsp petits pois
half a tsp mint sauce.

Method :

1.  Using just enough water to cover the potatoes in a medium sized saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the stock powder.

2.  Stir the stock until dissolved, then add the potato and simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the dice are just tender.

3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potato to a bowl and reserve to cool.  Retain around a quarter of the stock and add just enough gravy grains to thicken it.  Set it aside to cool.

4.  Dice the lamb and place into a bowl with the cooled potato, two spoonfuls of the gravy, the petits pois and mint sauce.  Stir gently to combine.

5.  Roll out the pastry and cut out three 8" circles.

6.  Using the egg yolk, paint a little onto the edge of one half of each pastry circle.

7.  Divide the filling between the three pastry circles, placing it on the un-egged side of the pastry.

8.  Fold the egged side of the pastry over to encase the filling and press down lightly to seal.

9.  Follow around the edge of the pastry with a decorative pattern, pressed in to fix the pastry properly, and cut a hole into the top to let the steam out.

10.  Place onto a baking tray and give the pasties a good covering of egg wash.

11.  Bake at 190degC/375degF/Gas5 for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Serve with potato wedges and mushy peas.

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