In centuries past, it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. And, in many cultures, serving lamb is an integral part of large family feasts. These delicious mini lamb-shank pies will have your guests feeling lucky with every bite.
Recipe and styling by Sarah Dall
Photograph by Myburg du Plessis
Mini lamb-shank pies
- 4 lamb shanks
- 100g cake flour, seasoned with salt
- and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 x 400g tin whole unpeeled cherry tomatoes (find at woolworths.co.za)
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 250ml (1 cup) red wine
- 500ml (2 cups) beef stock
- 500g cake flour + extra, to dust
- pinch salt
- 250g salted butter, at room temperature
- 90ml water, chilled
For the shanks, preheat the oven to 140°C. Lightly dust the lamb shanks with the seasoned cake flour. Set aside. Heat the canola oil in a large stove-to-oven casserole dish (with a lid, which you’ll use later) placed over medium heat. Add the dusted lamb shanks and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shanks from the casserole dish and set aside.
Using the same casserole dish, sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the browned lamb shanks, cherry tomatoes, rosemary, wine and stock. Cover the dish with the lid and roast in the preheated oven until the meat is cooked, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and set aside until cooled.
For the pastry, preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease and line 4 deep, fluted tart tins (each with a diameter of 12,5cm) with baking paper. Set aside.
Combine the 500g cake flour and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the chilled water and mix until a smooth dough forms. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate to chill, about 30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Using a large round cookie cutter, cut 4 discs out of the dough that are large enough to line the base and sides of the prepared tart tins. Using a 12,5cm round cookie cutter, cut 4 more discs out of the dough. These will be used as lids later on.
Line the prepared tart tins with the larger pastry discs. Place a cooled lamb shank in each of the pastry casings and spoon some of the leftover sauce from the lamb shanks into each casing. Top each lamb shank with a pastry lid, pushing the protruding bone through the centre of the lid and bring the pastry down until it reaches the rim of the tart tin. Crimp the edges to bring the pastry lid and casing together.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch, remove the pies from the tart tins. Serve immediately.