Oct 25

Rosemary Lamb Pies with Red Wine Gravy




Today I am making some lamb pies from a leftover roast we had for dinner last night. The leg of lamb, though it was delicious, was a touch dry in our opinion. It wasn’t the signature succulent-uncious-meat-falling-off-the-bone experience. Am not sure if I under-cooked it last night or that it was a bit too lean to begin with. We usually have no problems with the cuts of meat we get from our local butcher … so it must’ve been my fault, somewhere, somehow. The lamb we buy is always an imported New Zealand lamb leg; bone in. It comes frozen in a vaccum-sealed bag. Our butcher does sell local lamb from Texel island but we are partial to home grown lamb from down under … besides, NZ lamb is not famous for nothing.



Anyway, roast leg of lamb was on the menu last night and we did not eat it all, although on a hungry day R can very well eat enough for two people. The leftovers were wrapped up in foil and stored away, awaiting me to decide what to do with it. Normally the leftovers are turned into cold lamb sandwiches with a generous swack of mustard, or a warm salad of some sort. That’s all well and good in the summer months but it’s the end of October and I am in no mood for sandwiches or salad dinners. R suggested I turn it into a hearty lamb and veggie stew which got me thinking ‘… why stop at just stew?’



I took a moment to think things thru in my head and then I decided that YES I am going to go with the pie option. Never made pie with leftovers before but hey, how hard can it be, right? The hardest part would have to be making the gravy, in my opinion. It has to have the right flavour and consistancy. Too thick and it’ll taste like glue. Too thin and you’ll have soggy pastry and ‘soup’ leaking out the seams. I sent R a quick message at the office and he was ecstatic at the prospect of pie for dinner. Aussies love their pies.






So I began by prepping my mirepoix : carrots, onions, celery. Also grab a couple cloves of garlic and a can of baby peas. Adjust the amout of mirepoix according to the amount of leftover meat you have on-hand. What you see in the picture above was too much and I ended up halving the amount. For the onions I used a red onion and a shallot. Chop them up into bite-sized pieces and set them aside. Roughly chop the garlic and add them to the veggie medley.






Slice as much meat off the bone as you can, and dice them into cubes. Set them aside. I kept them pretty chunky coz that’s how we like our pie filling. Also once you cook the meat they will shrink a little so you don’t want to cut them too small. Now, what do you do with the bone? Well you have a couple of options ~ you could store it and use it for stocks or stews.






Or you could just chuck it in the bin, but in my house I have a third mouth to feed so the dog gets the bone. My Bernese loves a good bone to chew; it is the only time we ever have a bone big enough for him to gnaw on for hours. Keeps him occupied while I prepare dinner as opposed to having him follow me about.














So, that takes care of the prep work. Nothing fancy at all … which is a good thing coz I was going in blind. All I had was a few theories in my head and I was acting on them for the first time. I used a pressure cooker to make the filling coz it takes less time to soften the meat and it locks in the flavour. I use my little pressure cooker for everything from stews to curries to pie filling ~ it’s awesome!! Best piece of cookware in my kitchen ever.



In goes about two tablespoons of oil then I sweated the veggies for five minutes. Season with salt. I didn’t put pepper coz it tends to get a bit bitter after while. I prefer to add it towards the end along with the other herbs.



Once the veggies are partially cooked add the flour and stir to coat; this will help thicken the sauce later. Next add in the red wine. I used whatever was left lying around the house, in this instance it was a 2009 Cab-Sav. R keeps buying new bottles and not finishing them so they inevitably wind up in my cooking.






Once you pour in the wine the liquid will thicken very quickly so keep stirring to prevent any lumps forming and catching at the bottom of the pan. Simmer to cook off the alcohol and the gravy won’t be so tart.



Now let’s talk gravy base. In this recipe I used the leftover gravy from last nights meal but if you do not have that then just use beef stock from a box or a beef buillion cube dissolved in some water. Better yet, you can use one of those powdered gravy sachets. I also put in a good dollop of smooth Dijon mustard. Stir everything together then add the cubes of lamb. Once everything has been mixed together well, lock on the lid and turn the fire down to low and forget about it for the next half-hour.







After half an hour remove the lid and remove access fat from the pot by skimming the surface with a spoon. Greasy pie filling is a no-no. Return the pot to the stove and turn the heat to low. You can now stir in some dried rosemary, thyme and the baby peas. I add the peas in now coz I don’t want them to cook too long and become mush. Taste your pie filling and adjust seasoning here. And last but not least, thicken the gravy further by adding a cornstarch slurry … just enough to thicken it all up so that it’s not runny. As this cools the gravy will congeal even more. It will look weird but it will also ensure you won’t get leaks and soggy pastry. How much cornstarch to add will depend on how runny your gravy is and how much filling you are making, so kinda eyeball it. Set the pie filling aside to cool to room temperature and move on to prepping the pie cases.






I am still not confident enough to make my own pie crust. Also I am just being lazy so I am using a store bought product, which by the way is very good and tasty. One box contains shortcrust pastry and the other contains puff pasty. These come in nifty pre-rolled sheets of 10 per box.These can be found in the frozen section of your supermarket, next to the frozen pizzas, the fish fingers and veggies.






The tins I am using are brand spanking new; never before used in my home. I got them off Amazon.com a couple of months back for a reasonable price. They come in various shapes and sizes, and are non-stick. Each tin measures 4″ inch x ¾” deep and they made me some beautiful pies today. I then wrote to the people at Amazon and told them so.





Even tho it’s a non-stick pie pan I didn’t want to take any chances so I still sprayed the inside lightly with cake release. Then I placed a sheet of shortcrust pastry on the bottom and moved it around a little to fit the pan. Repeat the same process to the other tins.






Once it’s in go ahead and spoon the now-cold pie filling into each casing. Be generous now coz nobody likes a pie that’s skimpy on the inside. Just make sure to leave the sides clear to accomodate the egg wash later.






Now whack on the lid using puff pastry. But before you do that you will need to brush the rim of the pie shell with egg wash so that the lid had something to adhere to and form a seal. You will also need to provide a vent for steam to escape. I used a piping nozzle to cut holes in the puff pastry before “gluing” it onto the pie shell. Once you have the lid on, you will then need to trim off the access pastry with a knife. Do this by running the blade along the side of the dish. Then brush the top with more egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.





Once you have lidded and egg washed all your pies, place them on a baking tray and then place them in the middle rack of a 210°C oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Different pastry brands cook differently so do what suits the brand you are using. Once the tops are puffed and golden they should be done. Take them out and cool slightly before serving. My pies looked very appealling indeed. I have never baked such authentic looking pies in my life so you’ll have to excuse me while I gush about them for a minute.






And so there you have it … my very successful first try at making pies from leftovers. I have to say it was pure heaven coz I haven’t had pies in like FOREVER. The boyfriend came home late from work and was starving when he walked through the door. I had kept his dinner warm in the oven for him. I had one pie for my dinner but he ate THREE! He too was in heaven and he paid me many many compliments … and that is awesome coming from an Aussie who is fussy about his meat pies … although he did give me the evil eye when he spotted carrots and celery and peas in there. Sigh … it’s hard to please but he has to eat his veggies somehow.





The pie itself had the perfect filling-to-pastry ratio that I like. Plus no gush of runny gravy dripping down my chin as I took a bite into this baby. The photos in todays post aren’t too great coz I shot at night under the orangey light of my kitchen globe, but oh well … least the end product is scrummy-licious! R wants more tomorrow but unfortunately there isn’t any. Haha. Extra pies can be made and kept in the freezer for easy access in future, just don’t apply egg wash to the pie lids before you store them in freezer-safe bags.






 Ingredients :


  • 300 g diced leftover lamb
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 4 baby carrots, choped
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or leftover gravy
  • 1/4 cup baby peas
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch (dissolved in tap water)
  • 1 box pre-rolled shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 1 box pre-rolled puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 whole egg
  • Sesame seeds   *(optional)




Pies are so versatile and I am a huge fan. In future I hope to bring you more pie recipes (uh-oh … do I hear another obsession coming on??) and then we can all have a different pie for everyday of the week! I now know I have both the know-how and the ability to make pretty pies all on my own, therefore I am very much encouraged to venture out and to spread my wings in the realm of pie baking … using store bought pastry of course. Hahaha.




~ ENJOY! ~




 If you liked this post (or simply like pie recipes) then check out my Chicken Pot Pie recipe here.




Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/rosemary-lamb-pies-with-red-wine-gravy


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  1. Sarah Volpe

    Your pies, you pictures and of course your lovely doggy, are awesome Viv! I really love you blog it’s one of my fav food blogs and I look at a lot!!

    1. bubviv

      Your kind words are very much taken to heart. I have been working awfully hard to get some nice recipes and photos up there.

  2. Julian

    These amazing pies were hand delivered to me at work. I had to leave them sit for a while as I had a meeting. But when I came back to my desk my entire universe collapsed around me until there was only the pies and me. They were mind FANTASTIC. I couldn’t speak for a short while they were so good. Thanks V!

    1. bubviv

      Hehehe … told you they were good.

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