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Pie For Dinner: A Savory, Spiced Lamb Pie

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When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: Exactly what you want, when and where you want them.

Today: A story about the intersection of school nights and dreams -- and why all of ours should involve this warm, cinnamony lamb pie. 

spiced lamb pie

When I was 10 years old, I wanted world peace, no capital punishment, and an endless supply of Fun Dip Sticks.

At 44, I want my kids’ homework done, the table set without triple requests, and for all of us to sit down to dinner at the same time with napkins in our laps.

I want my son to take a bath at least once a week.

I want a slow, luxurious husband-kiss delivered to the side of my neck while I chop herbs.

I want my fall filled with warm and cinnamony lamb pies.

I want to sit at the kitchen table -- red wine in hand, breathing deeply, staring at the wall, thinking about nothing -- while my husband does the dishes.

I want to stop yelling at my children.

I want all of the laundry folded and tucked away, the bills organized and paid, the leak under the kitchen sink fixed.

I want us all to feel safe.

spiced lamb pie

Last Wednesday, at 6 PM, I try for these dreams.

But there are some issues.

My husband is out of town.

The red wine gives me a headache. I google perimenopause and red wine. The news is horrifying.

So I become a yelling machine. 

No way. Not on a school night. No. I don’t care how nicely you ask. No screentime. No. No! Nooooooooooo!

No. Please, Dash. Don’t sharpen your pencil with a chef knife!

Pick up your lunchbox your Legos your jacket your dirty socks your homework your cheddar bunnies!!!

spiced lamb pie

I turn away from it all to stir a pungent paste of garlic, anchovies, tomato paste, and spices into the ground lamb. My world fills with cinnamon, paprika, cumin. The juices reduce down and thicken. I turn off the heat and reach for the dough.

I hear a jumble of voices: teacher, mama, recipe writer. Don’t move your body, move the dough. Don’t overhandle it. Add flour. Move quickly. Look at the beautiful marbling of butter. Isn’t dough amazing? Want to make a honey pie with the scraps? 

I pour the filling into the pie shell, slide as much cheese as possible underneath the top crust, and bust out a scrappy crimp.

I am no longer yelling.

I snap out of my pie trance and remember that kids need to be fed at a reasonable hour on a school night.

And 8:30 PM isn’t reasonable. 

I pull out the frozen pizza. 

spiced lamb pie

Spiced Lamb Pie

Serves 6

2 batches of your favorite pie dough (enough for two 10-inch circles rolled out 1/4-inch thick)
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium-sized yellow onions, peeled and diced (yielding about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
14 1/2 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped mint
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I prefer creamy Grey Poupon)
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1 egg
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (fleur de sel or Maldon)

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by Phyllis Grant

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Lamb, Meat, Weekend Cooking, Long Reads