As soon as I realized that we were going to make a savory pie this week, I knew that it had to have bags of flavor. A filling with complex flavors and spices that would give the eater a different tasting experience on each bite. After much deliberation, I remembered a video I saw as a kid once: Nigella Lawson cooking a Moroccan Lamb Tagine. I looked for the video, saw it again and knew that I had to make a Moroccan Lamb Tagine Pie.
In my search for the maximum amount and complexity, I looked up two more Moroccan Lamb Tagine recipes and combined the ingredients and methods to what would hopefully become the “ultimate” Lamb Tagine Pie. In addition to these recipes I also added a touch of some Pakistani cooking techniques to the recipes to give it a personal touch. Here are the links to the three recipes I used for my pie followed by a breakdown of how I combined all three of them.
I started with caramelizing slices of one white onion in a mixture of butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed cast iron pan. A pinch of salt speeds up the process considerably. While this was happening, I prepared the meat by cutting it into small bite-size pieces. I used one packet of boneless lamb shoulder and used one packet of lamb leg pieces with bone. I deboned the lamb leg pieces and kept the bones to give some extra flavor to the tagine.
Once the onion was caramelized, I took the onion slices and in the same pan, I browned the lamb pieces and the bones in batches until they were golden brown on all sides about five minutes for each batch. In the same pan, I added a tiny bit more olive oil, waited for it to heat up and added a cup each of chopped onion and carrot. I sautéed this mixture for around 4 minutes and added a tablespoon chopped garlic followed by the salt, tomato paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, cinnamon powder, ginger powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and all-spice. After around 30 seconds, I added around half a cup of red wine and gave the pan a good stir to release all the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. I added in the browned lamb pieces and bones, chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, dried apricots, and golden raisins. I brought this mixture to a simmer, covered it and let it cook on a low flame for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
Then I added around half a cup of chopped almonds and cooked the meat for another 20 minutes till the sauce had thickened considerably. I turned off the heat and added 4 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Before putting the filling in the pie, I took out the lamb bones and let the tagine come to room temperature.
I followed the recipe for a basic flaky crust with both butter and shortening but had bigger chunks of butter this time for more flakiness and also flavored the pastry with cumin, black pepper and a bit of lemon zest.
Putting it together:
Same as last week, I rolled out the bottom crust to fit the 9-inch pie plate, left an inch of overhang and put it in the fridge for five minutes. After that, I brushed the bottom pie crust with an egg-white to prevent a soggy bottom and put the pie plate back in the fridge for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, I rolled out the second pie crust, cut it into strips and with help of Neftaly, made a lattice top as well as a braid to line the pie. For decoration purposes, I put an almond in each gap formed by the lattice. A generous wash with a mixture of an egg yolk and a tablespoon of milk followed.
I baked the pie at 400F in the lower third rack for 20 minutes. After that, I took out the pie and put pie protectors on the rims of the pie and put the pie back in the oven in upper third rack for some extra coloration for another 30 minutes.
And then the pie was ready to serve! I am glad to report that it was all gone within an hour and I personally think, it turned out beautifully!
Moroccan Lamb Tagine Pie
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1¼ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon all-spice
- large pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz) leg lamb, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 375 ml (1½ cups) chicken stock
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 25 g (½ cup) chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 1 egg
- Double crust flaky pastry
- See the post for the method!