As we dip into the colder months, stick-to-your-ribs savory pies become a staple dish. Much like a hearty soup, a slice of savory pie can be a great comfort. Bonus: perfect your crust over the winter and, come spring, your repertoire can expand to include fresh fruit and berry pies. For the savory filling, ingredients can vary but make sure to reduce until nice and thick. We asked Kelly Geary, a Brooklyn-based chef and founder of Sweet Deliverance, to share one of her favorites: a spiced braised lamb and roasted root veg combo. November, we come prepared.
The success of any pie depends largely on a crust that flakes just so. Kelly’s trick: Leave small pebble-size bits of butter in your raw dough. They’ll melt once your pie is baking in the oven, creating air pockets which create… a perfectly flakey crust.
3 cups and 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup ice cold water
1 tsp kosher salt
300g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1. Stir salt into cold water until it dissolves then put into the freezer. The water will get very cold but the salt won’t freeze, so when you pour the mixture into the flour it will keep the butter cold for optimum crust flakiness.
2. Weigh out 300 grams of butter and cut into small cubes. Place in the fridge.
3. In a large bowl, measure out flour. Cut the cold butter into the flour using your hands. Break the chunks of butter apart until you have a coarse meal and little pebbles of butter. Do not use a food processor. (If this takes you a while and you feel like the butter has gotten soft with the heat of your hands, place it back in the fridge for a bit.)
4. Pour the ice cold water into the butter and flour mixture. You want to just pull the dough together with your hands. Do not knead.
5. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap so there is no air, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This dough freezes quite well. Just make sure there is no air when you wrap to store it or the flour will oxidize and you will have gray dough.
1 tbs cumin seed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp madras curry
2 tsp pimenton (smoked paprika)
1 tbsp crushed coriander seed
½ tsp fenugreek
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of clove
1 tbsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
5 pound leg of lamb
2 carrots, rough chopped
1 large onion, rough chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 parsnips, rough chopped
6-8 large cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
2-3 carrots in bite-sized pieces
3 cups peanut potatoes or 2 Yukon potatoes in bite-size pieces
2 medium-size parsnips in bite-sized pieces
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for spice mix.
Cut a 1 inch cross hatch pattern in the top of your leg of lamb, then rub the spice mix over the leg of lamb.
In your braising pot, heat a small amount of canola oil and brown the leg of lamb on all sides. Set aside.
Without turning down the heat, add your braising veg and give it a good stir. Sautée until soft. If you need to add a touch of chicken stock during this process to keep from burning, go ahead.
Add the rest of the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Turn off heat and add your leg of lamb. The meat should be mostly covered but not submerged.
Cut a piece of parchment to just fit the inside of your pot with a ¼-inch hole in the middle. Place the lid on and put in the oven.
Check lamb after and an hour and then every half hour after that. It should be falling off the bone and not chewy. Once your lamb is done, let it cool in the braising liquid.
When the lamb is cool enough to touch, pull it out of the liquid. Strain the braising liquid into a pot keeping the veg.
Put the pot of braising liquid on high heat to reduce with your filling vegetables skimming off fat. Keep checking for saltiness. Don’t let it go too far.
Pull the lamb from the bone and set aside.
Once the veg in the braising liquid are done add the shredded lamb and simmer.
To thicken up the filling, you can do two things: blend up your braising veg that you’ve set aside and add some of it to the filling to get desired thickness, or sprinkle in a little flour.
Cool your filling.
Remove dough from fridge and cut in half; then cut your half into quarters.
Roll out 1 quarter to fit your pie dish, leaving a ½-inch lip around the edge. Place in fridge.
Roll out the other quarter to fit as the lid with the same ½-inch lip. Place in fridge.
Make an egg wash with one egg and a touch of water.
Remove bottom crust from fridge and fill. Brush edge with egg wash.
Remove lid and use a tiny cookie cutter to cut a hole in the center as a decorative touch.
Place lid on firmly on top, patting the edges together.
Crimp top and bottom together and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake at 350 °F until crust is golden to the center, about 45 minutes.
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