I decided to go a slightly different way for Easter this year. Lamb – tradition. Spiced pie – maybe not so much. Essentially this is a tagine with a lovely, crispy filo pastry pie topping. I had my doubts about this but it worked really well! I was lucky enough to serve this Al Fresco on a warm day, along some cumin roast potatoes and roast aubergines with yogurt and harissa. If I look really hard I can practically see Morocco from my flat so I felt it was fitting. Perfect for Easter, or just a nice weekend meal! To get the lamb really tender I take it out the fridge a few hours before and salt the meat well. You can also make the filling in advance and cool until you’re ready to make the pie.
Moroccan spiced lamb pie
Serves 4-6 | Prep 30 mins | Cook 4 hrs
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil;
- 800g lamb shoulder, fat removed, diced;
- 3 tbsp plain flour;
- 1 large onion, chopped;
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed;
- 1 tbsp ras el hanout;
- 2 tsp ground coriander;
- 2 tsp ground cumin;
- good pinch of ground cloves;
- good pinch of saffron (optional);
- 1 cinnamon stick;
- 400g can chopped tomatoes;
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced;
- 1 tbsp honey;
- 4 tbsp pomegranate molasses;
- 270g pack filo pastry (4-6 sheets);
- 50g butter, melted;
- 50g flaked almonds;
- 50g pomegranate seeds.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Toss the lamb in the flour with some seasoning, then brown it in the dish. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the dish (which will cause the meat to steam instead of fry). Take your time to build up a deep brown colour, which will add lots of meaty flavour to the stew. Set the meat aside on a plate as you go.
Add the remaining oil to the dish along with the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 mins until softened, then stir in the spices, tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, honey and molasses. Fill the tomato can halfway with water, swill around and add this too. Add the lamb back in. Season well, bring to a simmer and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 hrs 30 mins-3 hrs or until the meat is tender. Leave to cool.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Transfer the meat to a pie dish that’s about 25cm wide, or leave it in the casserole if it’s wide enough to fit the topping. Unwrap the filo and brush a sheet with butter, scrunch up and place on top of the pie. Continue with the remaining sheets until the tagine is covered. Drizzle any remaining butter over the top and scatter over the almonds, then bake for 45 mins or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds just before serving.
Original recipe by BBC Good Food, available online here.