Mini lamb pies. If the good old Aussie meat pie could get any more Aussie, it would be with lamb. These little lamb and rosemary pies are seriously delicious and can be prepped ahead.
- They taste rich, meaty, savoury and comforting.
- The crust is perfectly buttery and flaky.
- Not difficult to make but a little time is needed.
- These are perfect for family dinners and dinner parties.
- They can be prepped ahead of time.
Essentially mini lamb pot pies, these were one of the first recipes on the blog. I’ve now tweaked it to be even easier to make while still keeping them incredibly tasty.
When you bite through the buttery pastry into that tender, soft lamb bathed in gravy, you’ll realise it’s not just about the amazing textures – the richness and cosy flavours are divine. It’s like a Sunday roast in a pie – what could be better?!
You could make these lamb pies into one larger pie or just try my favourite steak and mushroom pie.
This recipe was originally published here on January 21st, 2016 and has been updated with recipe tweaks and new images.
Table of contents
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Ingredients you’ll need
What you see here is all homemade, from scratch, no shortcuts and it really isn’t that hard at all. Sure, you could take some shortcuts like using lamb mince or yesterdays leftover roast lamb. Or maybe you just want to use store-bought shortcrust though I promise if you try it from scratch, you’ll never go back. Simple and infinitely more delicious than pre-made.
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
- Lamb: I use a leg of lamb, trimmed of the larger portions of fat. It turns out tender and succulent and it’s perfect. You could also use lamb shoulder. If you want to cheat a little, you could use lamb mince (ground lamb) and save some cutting but the fall-apart chunks of lamb are unbeatable, IMO.
- Carrots and onion: Diced up carrot and onion are a great duo to start off the flavour in these lamb pies. You could also add a diced stick of celery if you like.
- Garlic: Flavour-packed fresh garlic is what you need here.
- Red wine: Use a good drinking red wine – I like Cabernet Sauvignon. If you don’t drink red wine, it’s still worth adding it to the recipe as it’s flavour enhances and enriches the sauce but it won’t taste like you’re drinking a glass of wine. It’s acidity also helps to keep the lamb incredibly tender. You could use a dry white wine in it’s place. It will change the flavour profile somewhat but will still add the acidity and tenderising properties. If you really don’t want to use wine, just leave it out, though you will get a different flavour.
- Flour: A little flour is used to thicken up the sauce part way, reduction gets it the rest of the way.
- Beef stock: Our main gravy base is beef stock. You could use lamb stock if you can get it or even chicken stock if you can’t find it. Beef stock cubes dissolved in water (see the packet for quantities) will work just fine.
- Tomato paste and balsamic vinegar: These are a powerful flavour duo. Both add sweetness, umami and acidity all at once. Don’t sub one for the other though, you need both for the right balance. You could swap the balsamic for Worcestershire sauce.
- Rosemary: Rosemary and lamb are like Kermit and Miss Piggy. They’re great friends and you really taste the rosemary coming through in these little lamb pot pies.
- For the pastry: The homemade flaky pastry is epic, it’s my favourite that I will never part with. Just 3 ingredients – butter, flour and water – are all you need. Use salted butter and plain flour (all-purpose flour). Sure you can use shop-bought if you really want but I urge you to make it from scratch. It’s easy and the flavour and texture are leaps and bounds above those pre-made types.
How to make it (step-by-step)
There’s two components to this lamb pie recipe – the lamb filling and the flaky pastry. Both are easy so don’t worry. The lamb filling cooks somewhat slowly on the stove top for 1 hour and, once you’ve combined the ingredients, you just need to stir it every so often. The pastry is combined in a food processor then you just roll it out and shape into your pan.
How to make the lamb pie filling
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
- The lamb: Brown the lamb, in batches, over medium high heat – you don’t need to cook it through. Set that aside.
- Vegetables: To the same pan add the onion and carrot and cook to soften the onion. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
- Reduce the wine: Now add the wine and you want to let that boil for 3-4 minutes until it reduces right down to maybe a couple of tablespoons of liquid. It should be nice and thick and you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir.
- The sauce: Now add some flour and mix it well cooking for about a minute before adding the remaining sauce ingredients and your lamb back to the pot.
- Cook it low and slow: Bring it to a boil, then drop it down to low temp so that it simmers. Cover it with a lid and let it go for 30 minutes. Take the lid off, turn the heat up to medium and cook it for another 15-20 minutes to get that gravy reduced and nice and thick. If it feels too thick for you liking, just add a little more beef stock. If it’s too thin, keep reducing.
- Cool: Let the filling (essentially a lamb stew at this point) cool to at least room temperature before adding to the pie crusts.
How to make the flaky pastry
- Process: Use a food processor to first blend the four and butter together until the butter is about the size of lentils. With the food processor on the low setting, drizzle in ice cold water just until it starts forming small clumps.
- Form the dough: The dough will still look crumbly at this stage (that’s really important for the texture) but when you press it together with your fingers, it will press together easily. Pull the pastry dough into a disk shape.
- Roll the dough: Cut ⅓ away from the disk. Roll out the larger portion to about 4mm thick and then the smaller portion to the same thickness. From the larger portion cut 6 circles about 13-14cm (5 ½ inches) and from the smaller portion cut 6 circles at around 9cm (3 ½ inches). You may be able to re-roll to get a 7th from each.
- Shape the pie crusts: Press the larger circles into the holes of a Texas muffin pan (a muffin pan with extra large holes) and use your fingers to gently press the pastry up nearly to the top – it should be just shy of the top of the pan.
- Chill: Chill the shaped pie crusts until required. Place the smaller circles onto a baking paper lined baking tray and chill those too.
Assembling the lamb pies
- Fill the pie crusts: Add the filling to the pie crusts so that it’s just slightly heaped above the height of the crust sides. You should be able to get 6 super full or 7 just filled pies from one batch.
- Top the pies: Run a little water around the top edge of the pie crust that you can see around the filling and then a little water around the underside of the top pieces of dough. Place the tops onto the pies and gently press around the edges to seal them.
- Finish and bake: Brush an egg wash over the tops then cut a small vent in the top of each to let the steam release. Bake for 35-40 minutes until nice and golden on top.
You can use this recipe to make one family pie (8-9inches) or make lamb party pies using a regular muffin pan too.
Tips and tricks
- Reduce the gravy: Make sure to allow that gravy to get nice and thick. If it’s too runny it might make your pastry soggy or just bubble right out. While a little bubbling out is fine (you can see on a couple in my photos where a little gravy escaped), you don’t want all the gravy bubbling out and over the sides into your oven. So let it get thick – you should be able to see the meat pieces showing through the gravy in the pan, not hidden beneath it.
- Cold ingredients in the pastry: The secret to beautifully flaky pastry is keeping the pastry cold. Start by using cold butter (you can even freeze it for 15 minutes before you start and if it’s a hot day, place the flour in the freezer too). Make sure to use iced water.
- Don’t add too much water: Your pastry should still look crumbly when you tip it out of the food processor (see my image above). If it starts clumping too much, you may have added too much water which can stop it from crisping up nicely. Just add enough that you can see small clumps starting to form.
- Make the pastry while the lamb cooks: This should give you plenty of time to make and form the pie crusts and give them plenty of time to chill. Chilling time is vital for two reasons – it stops the pastry from shrinking as it bakes and it helps keep the little bits of butter cold. Those cold pieces of butter release steam as the pastry bakes and is what forms the flaky texture.
I serve these lamb pot pies very simply with mashed potato, steamed veggies (like asparagus and peas) and some extra gravy for a dinner. You can also serve them with hot chips and tomato sauce (ketchup) for a more Aussie pie experience or just serve them on their own, they’re so good.
- Using leftover roast meat: You can create leftover lamb pies with this recipe. Take your leftover roast lamb and cut it into small bite-size chunks – you’ll need about 3 ½ – 4 cups. Start the process at cooking the onion and carrot and proceed from there. The extra cooking will tenderise the roast lamb even further and it will be falling apart tender.
- Beef: For that matter, you could also swap the lamb for beef either way (the braised method or using leftover roast).
- Lamb mince: The chunks of tender lamb really are so special in these lamb pies but you could simplify things by using lamb mince (ground lamb) instead.
- Add peas: Feel free to add a cup of frozen peas into the mix too. I would add those, after the lamb has braised, just stirring them in right before you let it cool.
- Shepherds pie: Try topping them with mashed potato instead of pastry to turn them into mini lamb shepherds pies.
The wine adds amazing flavour to these pies – rich, bold and a touch of fruitiness which is amazing but if you really don’t want to add it, you can leave it out. Or swap it for white wine if you prefer.
Pastry can become tough if you add too much liquid or overwork the dough too much, causing it to form gluten. Add just enough liquid to start the clumping process then stop. The dough should still look crumbly when you come to shape it but press together fine between your fingers.
For this recipe, as long as you’re using the same type of metal pan and cooking it for the time suggested, the base will be cooked. Don’t take them out of the oven when they’re starting to get golden, be brave and keep letting them bake until they become nice and deep golden. Also, don’t add too much gravy or it may prevent the base from cooking through.
Yield and storage
This recipe makes 6 very full or 7 lightly full (but still full enough) lamb pies.
- The pastry can be made 2-3 days ahead of time and kept covered and chilled in the refrigerator.
- The lamb filling can also be made 2-3 days prior to baking the pies.
- Leftover pies can be stored in the fridge for 3 days (depending on how far in advance you cooked the filling) or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Reheat the thawed pies in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180C/350F.
Did you try this lamb pie recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
FOR THE LAMB FILLING:
- 750 g boneless lamb leg (26oz /1.6lb)
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (notes 1)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium carrots, small diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅔ cup red wine (160ml)
- ¼ cup plain flour (all-purp flour)
- 2 ½ cups beef stock (beef broth) (625ml)
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste (notes 1)
- 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar (notes 1)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (notes 1 & 3)
FOR THE PASTRY
- 295 g plain flour (all-purp flour) (2 ¼ cups 10.4oz)
- 226 g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (1 cup / 2 sticks / 8oz)
- ~½ cup iced water
- 1 egg yolk, mixed with a dash of milk or cream
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- FOR THE LAMB FILLING: Trim any large pieces of visible fat from the lamb and cut it into small cubes, rough 1 ½ cm / ½ inch.
- Mix the lamb well with the salt and pepper to season.
- Heat half the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add half the lamb (so as not to overcrowd the pan) and cook just to brown the outside, no need to cook it through. Set aside and repeat with second half. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining oil then throw in the onion and carrot with a dash of the stock. Scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan then cook, stirring until the onion is translucent and soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add the wine. Bring it to a bubble and let it reduce right down until there’s only a thin layer of liquid left.
- Add the flour and cook, stirring for a further minute.
- Stir in the stock, tomato paste and vinegar. Then add the meat back in. Stir well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Cover with a lid, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking for about 30 minutes.
- You can skip ahead and make the pastry at this point while the lamb simmers.
- Remove the lid and turn the heat up to medium. Cook on a high simmer for a further 15-25 minutes to reduce the gravy so it’s nice and thick. Make sure to stir every so often and turn the heat down as necessary so it doesn’t catch.
- Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and let it cool to at least room temperature (or overnight in the fridge) before proceeding.
- TO MAKE THE PASTRY: Put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the butter is about lentil sized.
- Add the water one tablespoon at a time and pulsing in between until the dough just starts to clump a little – it should still look quite crumbly but hold together when you press it between your fingers.
- Tip the dough out onto a clean surface and, working quickly, pull it all together with your hands into a disk. Cut away ⅓ of the pastry and set it aside.
- Lightly flour your surface and the top of the larger portion of dough. Roll it out to about 4mm/⅙ inch thick. Use a 12-13cm / 5inch cookie cutter (or cut around a small plate).
- Gently press the rounds into the holes of a non-stick Texas muffin pan, pressing up the sides gently until it’s just shy of the top edge. Chill until required.
- Roll the smaller portion of dough out and cut 6 smaller rounds about 9cm/3 ½ inches and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. These will be for the tops. Chill until required. The pastry can be made up to 2 days in advance.
- TO MAKE THE PIES: Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / 180C fan forced.
- Using a slotted spoon, spoon the filling into the cold pie pastry cases, tucking it down so it’s in all the nooks. Drizzle a little of the gravy over the top of each one.
- Use your finger to brush a light line of water around the edge of pastry in the pie tin and the edge of one of the small disks, then place the pastry top on so those two line joins (this will help to glue them together). Gently press down all the way around to stick the edges together.
- Brush the top with the egg and milk egg wash, then cut a little steam vent in the top.
- Bake the pies for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
- Pastry: If you don’t want to make your own pastry crust, you can use shop-bought (though the flavour won’t be as amazing). I’d used shortcrust pastry for the base and puff pastry for the top.
- Rosemary: You could swap the rosemary for fresh thyme leaves if you prefer and this would still be delicious.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add a cup of peas right before you let the lamb filling cool. If you love parsnips, they go great in this, added at the same time as the carrots.
- Butter: If you don’t have salted butter on hand, you can use unsalted butter and just add 1 teaspoon of salt to the pastry dough.
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