A way to a man's heart is .....? A hearty Mutton Pie
Mutton as I know, since I was ye high, has been goat meat, specifically 'kid' meat. Buying this meat is an art and science. Science because you have to choose a young goat, so you get the tenderest meat. Art because you have to stand over the butcher and make sure he does not sneak in not-so-prime cuts to up his margins.
In India, butcher shops are adorned with goat carcasses hung like curtains across the entrance the store. Inside it is usually dark, dank and filled with the smells of freshly slaughtered goats. Somehow one never heard the sounds of it! Nevertheless, I have never once stepped into a butcher's shop in India. The sights were always too intimidating. Besides, I was always a touch too OCD for the place... :)
I have however, heard many stories of the perfect buying technique and I think somewhere along the way, my subconscious mind, parceled it away for future use, viz. circa 2011! These days, I breeze into butcher's shops in NY, stare down the butcher to submission of the choicest cuts and walk right out, head held high in confidence of having got the best pound of flesh in the store!
In the US, however, mutton really isn't what I am used to. Lamb meat, which, is very common is from sheep. Sheep here, not that I have anything against them and from my experience in UK are yummy, just doesn't have the same flavor as goat. Since I came back from UK I have been pining for the Welsh lamb, the closest meat to mutton in India.
And then, a couple of weeks back, I saw the rather not-so-common sight at my butchers. Encased just beyond my fingers' reach was a shiny red thing... GOAT MEAT! Woohoo! My heart skipped a beat and I bought the whole stock! No, really, I DID!! All of 3 pounds worth (that's how abundant the meat is!)
With the brown paper wrapped meat safely secured in my shopping bag, my mind was awhirl with ideas. I mean what should I make first? Something Indian or not? Tripping I went to the grocery store next door and found fresh snow peas. Instant decision - Pie!
Best decision ever...! I was thanked more than adequately.... ;-))Goat and Peas Pie
(one 9 inch pie)
1 Super flaky Pie crust (recipe below)
For the filling:
1 lb meat from leg of goat, cleaned (including the membrane), diced into 1.5 inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh snow peas (reserve the shells, diced real fine)
1 medium red onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 young carrots, diced an inch
2 plump ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup red wine
1 T paprika
1 T chilli flakes
2 T worchestershire sauce
1 T molasses
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped fine
salt and fresh cracked pepper
4 T duck fat
1 egg yolk for egg wash
Saute the onions and garlic in duck fat until softened. Add the lamb and toss until browned. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the meat is cooked. I used a pressure cooker, so it gets done faster. If you don't have one, cook stove top keeping an eye on the liquid content.
You will end up with a consistency just right for filling the pie, if you have too much liquid, strain out the solids, bring the liquid to a boil and add a couple of tablespoons of flour and cook on high until thickened to a sauce. Return the solids back and toss.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Roll out half the dough into a circle large enough to fit the base of the pie pan with enough overhang to fold over the top. Ladle out the filling and pile it on. Roll out the remaining dough and gently place over the filling. Tuck and fold the overhangs decoratively. Brush the top with egg wash.
Bake for 35 minutes until the crust is flaked up and browned. Rest on rack for a few minutes and serve.
Super Flaky Pie Crust © Asha Pagdiwalla
(Original FSK Recipe)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick of unsalted butter, frozen, cubed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
4-5 T milk
1 egg, lightly whisked
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a food processor pulse the flour with the cold butter until you get a crumbly mixture. Transfer to a bowl. Add the egg and milk and knead in to form a sort of dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball. Pat into a circle of 1 inch thickness, wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.