Our mutton comes from ewes at the end of a long and comfortable life and so is perhaps the most ethically acceptable of farmed meats. It has the richest flavour of any meat and when enclosed in this nutty pastry made from rye flour makes a delicious and substantial meal.
- 500g wholemeal rye flour
- 1/8 tsp salt (adjust to your preference)
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs or 1 tsp garam massala (optional but recommended)
- 250g fat (I use part organic sunflower oil and part butter but anything will do)
Mix flour, salt and herbs or spice if used in a bowl and work in the fat with a fork or your fingers until it is like fine breadcrumbs. Mix in most of the water, pushing the mess into a blob and adding more water until you get a consistency of soft plasticine. Generally the less you have to work the pastry to get to this stage the better but life is not like the text books and rye pastry can be a bit glue like so just do your best! Divide it into two and roll out the first using a little flour to stop it sticking too badly and line the pie dish. One trick here is to roll it out on grease proof paper or a light board so that you can slide the sheet of pastry off carefully onto the dish intact rather than trying to be clever and pick it up. Mine usually breaks up however careful I am but I just piece it together anyway and press the bits in! This is best baked “blind”, with a little Chesil shingle or beans to weight it down, for 20 minutes in a medium oven (200°C). Roll out the rest of the pastry in the same way for the cover.
- 500g minced or diced mutton
- fresh ginger (optional)
- sweet pepper (optional)
- onion (lightly fried)
- cinnamon (no more than 1/4 tsp)
- black pepper (to taste – I like plenty!)
Brown the mutton lightly in a little oil in a heavy pan. (If using diced mutton coat pieces in a little flour first) Add 800ml hot water, cover and simmer as low as possible for at least an hour. This brings out the rich flavour and makes it tender, so the longer the better. Thicken with a little flour and mix in the other ingredients.
Pour all into pastry base and cover with the pastry as best you can, sealing the edges to reduce leaks! Bake straight away in a fairly hot oven (225°C) for 20 mins or until crust is done.
Serve hot with potatoes (new are best if it is the right season) and any green vegetable – curly kale would probably feel appropriate.