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Moroccan Braised Lamb Pie

Moroccan Braised Lamb Pie

This was all that I salvaged from the show this morning – we all stood around the plate at the studio and stabbed at it with forks at 8:30 am.

Alright, so it’s not really a *pie*. But it was baked in a pie plate and is technically topped with pastry, so I call it fair game to celebrate Pi day. Plus it’s unbelievably delicious, and outside my regular wheelhouse – normally I would have celebrated by clearing the last of the rhubarb out of my freezer, but David put in a subtle request yesterday for CBC this morning, and so I went ahead and made it. Which is why I have these photos taken on my phone in the dark of late last night and early this morning – not ideal, but you get the gist. I wanted you to see what the stewy part looked like, and the crumpled phyllo on top.

Moroccan Lamb Pie 4

It’s pretty straightforward, as far as braises go – the original instructs tossing the meat in flour, but I prefer to brown the meat itself, and get some good colour on it before shaking some flour overtop to thicken the stewy sauce. Beyond the spices – I had ras el hanout, but either ran out or couldn’t find it, and didn’t miss it at all – and I left out the cloves because I’m not a fan, and the saffron because I don’t expect anyone to have it in their kitchen. In went a tin of tomatoes, two lemon halves, squeezed and zested and tossed in whole, along with a cinnamon stick and some honey and a pour of pomegranate molasses, and oh, was it delicious. I made it last night and topped it with scrunched-up buttered sheets of phyllo this morning for the show, and although I tend to glaze over when I see crumpled phyllo-topped things, it was perfect – crunchy and buttery and light, giving you the sensation of eating pastry without being heavy. A shortcrust lid on this lamb stew might have put it over the top, but a few sheets of phyllo was brilliant.

Moroccan Lamb Pie 3

He sent a link to BBC Good Food, and although it’s a recipe I’m not sure I would have chosen myself, it’s one I’ve made a mental note to remember next time friends are coming over and I’m not sure what to make. (It looks burned in places, but it’s not – it’s me being hooked on the chrome filter on my phone, which tends to oversaturate everything.)

Moroccan Lamb Pie 2

Also! I added some lentils to the pot before sliding it into the oven. Lentils are amazing at absorbing the flavours of whatever they happen to be hanging out with – if you were to add split red lentils, they could go in dry, but my green ones had been simmered until they were just tender. They disappeared right into the stew, and no one had a clue they were there. The BBC suggests scattering the finished pie with sliced almonds and pomegranate arils, but I found it perfectly gorgeous as is.

Moroccan Braised Lamb Pie

Moroccan Braised Lamb Pie
Moroccan Braised Lamb Pie

Moroccan Braised Lamb Pie

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March 13, 2018

Ingredients

canola or olive oil, for cooking

1 kg (2 1/2 lb) lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch cubes

salt

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tbsp ras el hanout (a Moroccan spice blend - optional)

2 tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

2-3 Tbsp flour

1/2 cup cooked green or blue lentils, or about 1/4 cup dry split red lentils (optional)

1 14 oz (398 mL) can diced or stewed tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

1 lemon

1 cinnamon stick

3 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 Tbsp honey

4-6 phyllo sheets

1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

1Preheat the oven to 300F.

2In a large, heavy skillet, braising dish or ovenproof Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and brown the lamb in batches, getting it nice and dark on all sides and sprinkling with salt as it cooks. Transfer the meat to a plate as it browns so that you don’t crowd the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes, until golden. Return the meat to the pan along with the spices and cook for a minute, then sprinkle the flour overtop and stir to coat the meat.

3Add the lentils (if you’re using them), tomatoes and a can full of water, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Grate in some of the lemon zest, then cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the stew and toss in the lemon halves as well. Add the cinnamon stick, pomegranate molasses and honey.

4Stir, cover and transfer to the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours, stirring once or twice if you think of it, making sure the liquid hasn’t cooked down too much. (If it seems dry, add more water.) The stew can be made ahead, cooled and refrigerated for a few days — just rewarm it when you’re ready to bake.

5Increase the oven temperature to 375F. Leave the mixture in the baking pan or pot, or transfer it to a pie plate or shallow baking dish. Brush each sheet of phyllo with melted butter and crumple it up like a piece of newspaper, arranging the pieces on top of the stew. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is deep golden and the stew is bubbling around the edge. The original recipe suggested topping with sliced almonds and pomegranate arils, but I find it beautiful as is.

6Serves 4-6.

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5 comments on “Moroccan Braised Lamb Pie

  1. Sue
    March 13, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Goodness! Looks fan-bloody-tastic. Also, what a great way to use up phyllo that isn’t at it’s best. Anytime I get some of those awkwardly splitting sheets, this will the way forward!

  2. Sue
    March 13, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    (this will *be* the way forward)

  3. Carl
    March 14, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Looks fantastic! Do you have the original recipe with the saffron and cloves? Thanks!

    • Julie
      March 14, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      It should link to it!

  4. Faye
    March 17, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Another amazing recipe – made is look simple to make….this is on my calendar.
    Thanks a bunch.

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