Moroccan Lamb and Sweet Potato Pie.
Origin: This delicious hearty pie is my family’s favorite soul food, and as soon as the evenings turn fresh, it replaces Crispy Cornflake and Couscous Chicken Schnitzels on our family menu for the next few chilly months.
My house-keeper Caroline created this dish a few years ago by absolute chance. One morning as I was rushing out to see a client, I had taken out some lamb pieces, and had asked her to make a lamb stew for dinner. Our garden herbs were nonexistent that day, and when she enquired as to what herbs she should use, I suggested using whatever herbs she could find of the dried variety in the grocery cupboard.
Our dinner was delicious, but I could not understand how she had achieved such an aromatic, Moroccan flavor? The next day she proudly showed me the four ‘herbs’ she had chosen! I had not taken the time to explain the difference between herbs and spices!
Thank goodness her choice and combination of spices were spot on. With some tweaking here and there with quantities and the addition of sweet potato, we now have the perfect pie! It is unpretentious and perfect for relaxed winter entertaining. Instead of a Sunday Braai, why not pull out all the stops and impress your guests with this luxe looking stylish pie. It is delish served with mushy pea mash and roasted beetroot in winter, and on a lovely summers day, serve with a green salad and some minted garden peas.
If you have fresh cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds and cloves, crush them in a mortar and pestle. If not, use the bottled dried powder variety which is just fine.
Moroccan Lamb and Sweet Potato Pie. (Serves 4 -5)
1 kg cubed lamb pieces (preferably from the leg, without bone)
½ cup of flour
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely diced
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cumin
2.5 ml (½ tsp) ground cinnamon
2.5 ml (½ tsp) ground allspice
2.5 ml (½ tsp) ground cloves
400 g tin of whole peeled baby tomatoes
1 x 70 g tin tomato paste
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
2 grated carrots
1 cup (250 ml) red wine
1 cup (250 ml) chicken or lamb stock
1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed
1 sheet (300 g) already rolled or home-made puff pastry
egg and milk for the egg wash
- (Preheat the oven to 200 oC 45minutes before you wish to serve the pie.)
- Measure the flour into a bowl, add the lamb cubes, and toss until each piece of lamb is coated in flour. Remove the meat and set aside for frying.
- Fry the onions, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice in the olive oil and add the meat. Gently brown for a few minutes and then add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, grated carrots, red wine, and stock. Be sure not to allow this to catch as it will result in a bitter flavour.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently for an hour.
- Add the diced sweet potato and continue to cook for a further hour.
- Remove the lid after the two hours and cook for a further ½ hour or so with the lid off, allowing any excess liquid to evaporate. The aim is to end up with a thick rich gravy and tender meat.
- Add the salt to taste.
- Transfer the stew into a pie dish, and remove your puff pastry from the fridge.
- Gently roll out to desired shape, and add to the top of your pie dish.
- Press the edges of the pastry to the pie dish and decorate to your heart’s content.
- Brush with an egg wash and pierce the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
- Bake at 200 oC for 30 – 35 minutes or until the pie crust is flaky and golden brown.(Each oven may be different so please watch your crust does not blacken too quickly)