Braised Lamb Shank and Porcini Pies are a comforting and satisfying option for a winter meal.
10 grams dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup boiling water
4 lamb shanks
½ cup plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
small knob of butter
2 red onions, peeled and cut into eighths
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
8 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme
½ cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
4 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Roughly break up the porcini mushrooms and soak in the boiling water for 20 minutes.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dust the lamb shanks, shaking off the excess flour. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the flour. Brown on all sides, taking care the flour doesn’t catch and burn on the base of the pan, adjusting the heat as necessary. Transfer the shanks to a plate.
Add the onions, carrots, garlic and rosemary and cook for 3-4 minutes, adding a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir in the reserved flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the red wine and let it bubble up until most of it has evaporated. Add the porcini mushrooms , their soaking water and the stock then the lamb shanks and any meat juices.
Season, cover and braise for 1½ hours or until the lamb is very tender and can easily be pulled away from the bone. Remove the shanks to a plate. If the sauce is too thin, place the casserole dish on the stove top and boil until the sauce is reduced. While the shanks are warm, pull the meat off the bones and discard any fat and skin. Break the meat into bite-sized pieces and add back to the sauce. Reserve the bones. Cool then refrigerate until ready to assemble the pies.
To cook: Divide the lamb mixture between four deep, but not too wide, baking dishes. Nestle a lamb shank bone upright into the centre of the meat.
Cut 4 circles of pastry 3 cm larger than the dishes. Using a small cutter or knife cut a 2 cm circle from the centre of each pastry top. Brush one side of the pastry with beaten egg. Slide the pastry over the bone, egg-washed side down, and press the pastry against the side of the dish. Lightly crimp the edges with a fork.
Brush the tops with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place the dishes on a baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and a deep golden colour. Turn the pies for even browning if necessary.
Let the pies rest for 10 minutes before serving.