When autumn approaches with a chill in the air, I start to think of piping hot pies, pasties and rich braises. There is something wholesome about this type of cooking which suits the longer evenings. In the kitchens of both of my pubs we relish pie making, from the little individual venison ragout versions created for The Hand and Flowers, to The Coach’s steak and blue cheese pie. You might even find us serving a very fine hare pasty at The Coach, with mushroom ketchup.
So with a new season of vegetables and fruit to work with, I am sharing my recipes for pastry and dough creations which have savoury and sweet fillings. Roasting the pumpkin for the quiche helps to bring out its natural sweetness, which is balanced by a little bitterness and acidity from the blue cheese – both are boosted by the nutty pastry which helps to enhance the autumnal and toasty flavour. It would go amazingly well with a glass of red wine. And just in case the summer reappears a little later than expected, the pulled lamb and feta pie, with olives and mint, is a nod to Greek holidays.
Lastly, I hope you’ll enjoy my fruit-based calzone or pasty, with a creamy fruity filling and crispy yeasted pastry that caramelises as you bake it. An alternative to that traditional autumn staple of apple and blackberry crumble, it’s a satisfying pudding that is just as delicious served cold as it is piping hot.
Lamb feta and spinach pie
This pie reminds me of the flavours of Greece, with the amazing tender lamb seasoned with the feta and olives.
- Vegetable oil, for cooking
- 1kg lamb shank
- 8 cloves garlic, grated to a purée
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 stick celery, finely sliced
- 1 glass white wine
- 500ml lamb or chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 70g pitted green olives
- 150g feta cheese, crumbled
- 12 mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 200g wilted spinach, seasoned with salt, nutmeg and pepper
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 250g butter, gently melted to clarify, with the froth and white solids lifted off and discarded
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2.
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a casserole with a lid. Once hot, add the lamb and fry, turning it over, until the lamb has a dark roasted colour. Then add the garlic, onion, celery, wine, stock, bay and thyme.
- Bring to the boil, pop the lid on and place in the oven for 2½ hours. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the…