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Tuesday
Apr102007

easter lamb

lambfilo.jpg

lamb at easter is a bit of a cliché in the uk but having a freezer full of the stuff (it amazes me how this sort of thing happens, no doubt as a result of running out and then constantly thinking “i must stock up”) meant that it was a stereotype that i was conform to.

inevitably, i wasn’t willing to embrace tradition completely, instead we had this delicious north-african inspired pie. it was good. it was really good. in fact, this is possible one of the best things i’ve made this year so if you’re a lamb fan and fancy something a little different i suggest you try this out.

filolamb.jpg

aubergine, lamb and feta pie with pomegranate (serves 4)

25g pine nuts

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 red onion, thinly sliced

500g lamb mince

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon oregano

4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1 handful fresh chopped mint

200g feta cheese, crumbled

salt and freshly ground black pepper

25g butter

100g filo pastry (4 large sheets)

preheat the oven to 200c.

using a non-stick pan, fry the pine nuts (don’t add any oil) until they turn golden and are lightly toasted. put them in a large mixing bowl.

heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the aubergine until it softens and starts to turn golden – about 10 minutes. add them to the pine nuts.

heat the remaining olive oil and fry the garlic, chilli and onion until they begin to soften. add the mince and cook until it browns. add the cinnamon, oregano, pomegranate molasses and tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes (if there is any excess liquid in the pan, turn the heat up and boil this away, you don’t want a sloppy mixture).

in the mixing bowl, add the mince to the pine nuts and aubergine. stir in the mint and feta cheese. season to taste.

melt the butter and use this to brush one side of each sheet of filo pastry (do one at a time so they don’t dry out). place these, buttered side down, in a cake tin (c20cm, with a removable base), in overlapping layers, so that the bottom and sides are covered and the edges drape over the edges of the tin (you’ll need to bring these together to cover the top of the pie).

when the pastry is ready, fill the pie with your mince mixture, pressing down firmly. fold the over-hanging pastry into the centre to cover the mince and carefully brush this with any leftover melted butter.

bake for 40minutes, until the topping is golden and the pie-filling hot. we ate this with harissa-roasted tomatoes and garlicky green beans, which worked really well.

Reader Comments (7)

Where do you get pomegranate molasses from? I fancy making this.
April 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermatt
I fancy making this too! It looks fabulous.

I buy pomegranate molasses in a middle Eastern store around the corner from us in Kentish Town. I'm sure you could find it in a number of stores around Edgware Road; and I'm pretty sure i've seen it in Selfridges' food hall, too.
April 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjulia
hi matt, it was in selfridges food hall that i finally managed to track down pomegranate molasses. it's not easy to find - i bought two bottles and decanted one into a plastic water bottle to post to a friend who lives near aberdeen! luckily it arrived intact.

julia - i'm sure your bottle was cheaper!
April 11, 2007 | Registered Commenterabby
on a trip down south over the last few days we were fortunate enough to be served this dish by our hostess, unfortunately it wasn't presented quite as `nicely' as in the picture but the taste was great and I will definitely be cooking this for myself.
April 15, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermaureen
yes... i managed to drop the pie as i took it out of the oven so it wasn't quite so pretty - oops! at least it tasted ok!
April 15, 2007 | Registered Commenterabby
Hi Abs, T and I made this last night. We had only the puniest of aubergines, so I added some cooked chickpeas as well. It was fabulous--really nice, with unusual flavours. And I loved the way there are lots of different textures in this dish.
June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJulia S
i'm glad you too liked this, i was so pleased with it. chickpeas is a good idea, i too keep ending up with puny aubergines!
June 12, 2007 | Registered Commenterabby

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