This is a favourite, adapted by my mother-in-law,
2 tins 15cm in diameter, 4cm high
If no stock is available, put the bones, carrot, onion, celery and bouquet garni into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and simmer for 3–4 hours to make a stock.
Cut all the surplus fat away from the meat and then cut the meat into small, neat pieces about the size of a small sugar lump. Render down the scraps of fat in a hot, wide saucepan until the fat runs. Discard the pieces. Cut the vegetables into slightly smaller dice than the meat and toss them in the fat, leaving them to cook for 3–4 minutes. Remove the vegetables and toss the meat in the remaining fat over a high heat until the colour turns.
Heat the cumin seed in the oven for a few minutes and crush lightly. Stir the flour and cumin seed into the meat. Cook gently for 2 minutes and blend in the stock gradually. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Add back the vegetables, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and leave to simmer in a covered pot. If using young lamb, 30 minutes will be sufficient; an older animal may take up to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Dice the butter, put it into a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Pour the liquid all at once into the flour and mix together quickly; beat until smooth. At first the pastry will be too soft to handle but as it cools it may be rolled out 3–7mm thick, to fit the two tins. The pastry may be made into individual pies or one large pie. Keep back one-third of the pastry for lids.
Fill the pastry-lined tins with the meat mixture which should be almost, but not quite, cooked and cooled a little. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and egg wash and put on the pastry lids, pinching them tightly together. Roll out the trimmings to make pastry leaves or twirls to decorate the tops of the pies; make a hole in the centre, egg-wash the lid and then egg-wash the decoration also.
Bake the pies for approximately 40 minutes at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Serve with a good green salad.
© 2001 Darina Allen. All rights reserved.