Lamb shank 'stargazy' pie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Autumn, and your mind turns to just one thing. Pie.
Mk 1 - 15/10/10

I'm sure I read of this idea somewhere. Anyway it was after making the more traditional stargazy pie with Ms M that I wanted to try this one - finally got round to it.

Turn the clock back 13 years and lamb shanks were a nice economical dish - godsend to the kitchen (really kept the accountants happy) not any more - as soon as it becomes popular up goes the price - they're now 3 times + the price and they are a luxury item. The good thing about this pie though is because it is so filling one lamb shank will do 2 portions easily (edit - next time I gave one each).
Another thing I found is the local farm has shoulder ends. Lamb shanks are the leg knuckle - the shoulder knuckles are almost the same, just where the shoulder has been cut away to be boned and rolled. Just as tasty but 2/3 of the price. So I keep the lamb shanks for this pie, but the shoulder ends are great in another dish - but you could just as well use them for this. If you didn't want to use lamb shanks - this pie would also be great with slow cooked neck. Or you could do a similar thing with rack of pork with the bones poking out of the top and maybe chorizo - now there's a different variation of pork pie.....

Link to pastry recipe here. You could add suet too if you wanted to go the whole hog. Because the bowl was so deep I doubled the pastry recipe - and it's just as well I did.
Mk 2 - 27/11/10 - for 21 people

Link to lamb shank recipe here. As well as onion and carrot I also added parsnips - a proper hearty pie.

Just as the lamb shanks were nearing finishing cooking they were being posted over here (must be casserole time of year).

"He must be making Christmas pudding" said a customer walking past the till in the Tewkesbury Cookshop "what else would he be using them for?". Well this - you need a deep basin for the height of the lamb shanks.

When the lamb is cooked you drain the liquid and thicken it with cornflour - needs to be very thick or it bubbles up and breaks the pastry. Then you let everything cool down.

Grease the bowl, roll pastry out to 5mm and line with a good overlap. I put in the cooled lamb shanks first & rearranged them till they stood up. Then packed in the veg around and finally the cooled/ jellified sauce over. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg and put the pastry lid over. Then cut holes around the bones and poke the bones through the pastry. Then seal the edges of the pie. I tried a fancy pattern but it was too top heavy and sank - next time will try crimping instead. Because the height of the lamb shanks the pie was a bit higher than the dish so it didn't quite support it. But you live & learn and get it right the next time.

Wrap the bones in foil to stop them burning.

03:55 (c. 1 hour 45.... I think) the pie came out of the oven (180 oC) (timecheck here) - then it just needed a little time to cool down. All in a days work!

Don't forget this tip to stop the edges of the pie burning.

Another autumn warmer: Butternut squash and pearl barley risotto