Mar 12, 2010

Dingle Pies

When it comes to planning my evening meal, I usually think dessert first, dinner second. My kids sometimes (okay, at least once a week) drag their hungry selves into my flour-and-sugar-coated kitchen, rubbing their growling bellies, and asking, "Is dinner ready yet?" I stare blankly, curse ("Shite, I forgot about dinner!"), and then scramble for the freezer.
Yes, I forget dinner.

Last night, I almost had another ass-before-the-cart/dessert-before-dinner moment, but I stopped myself. Instead of struggling to make dinner happen around my pastry, I decided to put dinner in my pastry, and made Dingle Pies. Dingle Pies are traditional in Kerry around Harvest time, but perversely, I like the idea of eating lamb in Spring! Moving swiftly on ...

Shortcrust Pastry:
5 cups of flour
3/4 cup chilled water
1 cup butter

Filling (makes 6 small pies):
1 lb boneless lamb, chopped up small
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 potato, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
salt and pepper (and any other spices you like on your lamb)
1 egg, beaten

I made my pastry first, of course. Cut the butter into the flour, add the chilled water, and pat it together on a floured surface, and knead lightly. Tada. Then, wrap it in parchment paper and toss it in the fridge to relax. (I love saying "toss" because it makes me feel like Gordon Ramsay. Meanwhile, the only real similarity is that I am as explosive with flour as he is with language.)

Trim the fat and gristle from your lamb and cut it up into small pieces; add to your bowl of diced veggies. Mix well and season. Confession: I forgot to season so my pies were a bit less than flavorful.

Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface, and set aside about a third of the dough for the pie tops. Then, using a small plate, cut six circles of dough to use as pie bases. (Put any leftover pastry back into the fridge or freezer to use for dessert later. Do not get sidetracked into peeling apples, now!)

Preheat oven to 355 degrees F. Pile meat-and-veg mix into the center of each pie base.

Cut six smaller circles from the pastry you set aside, and lay them over the meat mix. Dampen the edges of the pastry bases and bring them up around the meat, pleating together with pastry lids. Take more time than I did to make your pies look pretty. Make a small hole in top of each pie to vent, and finally, brush your pies with beaten egg. Note: the pastry now looks like my legs the first three weeks of summer. Transfer to a baking tray, and cook for one hour.

Serve with a nice salad.

Go back for seconds.
Now you can think about dessert!

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