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Minted Lamb Pie (serves 6)
750g 1kg lamb or hogget
2 Tbsp oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and diced
1 leek, trimmed, washed and finely diced
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp flour
1 cup beef stock
1 cup medium sweet sherry or use beef stock
cup raisins
2 Tbsp barley or brown rice
cup chopped fresh mint
400g packet flaky puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, beaten (to glaze with)

Cut the lamb into 2-3cm sized pieces. Season well with salt and pepper and brown quickly in hot oil. Set aside.

Add the vegetables to the pan and stir over a moderately high heat until the vegetables begin to brown a little (you may need to add a touch more oil). Stir in the garlic and flour and cook for 1 minute. Do not overcook, as the garlic will burn.

Stir in the sherry or stock, raisins and barley or brown rice and bring to a simmer. Transfer with the lamb to a casserole and cover.

Cook at 160C until the lamb is tender. Cool, then stir in the mint and season with salt and pepper. Before covering with pastry, cool thoroughly. (If the pastry is placed on a hot filling it will have a soggy layer underneath.)

Transfer the cold mixture to a large pie dish, preferably one with a lip. Place a pie funnel in the center if you have one, or make one from foil. Brush the rim with water or egg glaze.

Roll out the pastry to 2cm larger than the pie dish. Cut a 1cm-wide strip and press this onto the pie dish rim. Then carefully roll the larger piece of pastry over the pie, pressing the top firmly onto the pastry-covered pie rim. Do not pinch the edges together though. Trim the edges.

Brush with egg glaze, being careful to avoid any glaze going over the cut edge of the puff pastry, as it will glue the layers together and prevent them from rising.

Bake at 220C for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 200C for a further 20 minutes until the puff pastry is well risen and golden and the filling is hot.
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