Lamb shank pie is real farmers food. It is the Namibian equivalent of shepherd’s pie. The southern regions of Namibia produce world class lamb and mutton and it is common practise for many Namibians to buy their lamb and mutton directly from farmers. Lamb shanks are delicious when cooked until the meat is soft and gelatinous. But it takes time and a little effort. Then, when the meat and vegetables are encased in puff pastry, it is hard to think of any other dish that celebrates our proud sheep farming tradition as well as this lamb shank pie. This is a dish for a cold and lazy Sunday lunch in the South.
Lamb shank pieCourse: Main, Lunch
Lamb shank pie is Namibia’s answer to shepherd’s pie. Namibian lamb and mutton is world-class and a real luxury ingredient to cook with. This pie is best enjoyed close to the source of the meat, and on a slow and lazy winter’s day.
6 lamb shanks
500 millilitres red wine
500 millilitres chicken stock
1 onion, cut into quarters
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
200 grams unsmoked bacon, cut into lardons
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons thyme
1 twig rosemary
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
1 cup frozen peas
400 grams puff pastry
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Heat the oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Brown the shanks two at a time. Set aside. Next brown the bacon, chunky carrots, celery, whole garlic and onion in the same pan.
- When all the meat and vegetables are browned, transfer to a large cast-iron pot or dutch oven. Put the bacon and vegetables on the bottom and lay the meat on top. Add the wine and stock and the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with wax paper and seal with the lid. Place in an oven preheated to 200℃. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- The shanks are ready when the meat is soft and gelatinous. Remove the shanks and set aside. Strain the sauce through a sieve and discard the vegetables and herbs. Keep the lardons of bacon. Allow the sauce to cool and skim off all the fat from the top.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted add the flour and whisk together to make a roux. Cook the roux until golden in colour. Add about a quarter of the sauce to the roux and whisk to prevent lumps. Once incorporated, and another quarter and whisk. Repeat until all the sauce is incorporated and the mixture thickens.
- Add the remaining cubed vegetables and frozen peas to the thickened sauce and allow to poach for about 5 minutes. Place the shanks upright in a pie dish. Fill the dish with sauce and vegetables. Allow these to cool completely.
- Roll the puff pastry to a size that would cover your dish. Lay the pastry over the dish and cut holes to allow the shank bones to protrude. Seal the edges to make sure no steam escapes.
- Bake the pie in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.