Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lamb, tomato & feta pies

I was intrigued when I saw these pies in Ray McVinnies food section in the Sunday magazine. I have never been a fan of Ray's recipes, but lately his dishes in Sunday have looked more attractive. On that basis (and the fact that we had lamb mince to use up) I thought I'd give this one a go. I actually didn't use his dough recipe as I didn't have semolina, so instead used my go-to basic bread dough, which I think worked just fine for this recipe.

Although the tarts look quite impressive, I'm not sure they had quite the depth of flavour I would have liked. As my flatmate Jane said, they kind-of tasted exactly how you would expect lamb mince to taste. As the lamb mince is cooked in the dough, there was no opportunity to pour off the was somewhat disconcerting the see the tarts filled with fat as they were cooking. Although the fat seemed to be absorbed during the cooking, I could definitely taste it when I ate them. I think if I was to make them again, I'd serve them with a mint & yoghurt mixture on top which may help to cut through the fat. Or perhaps I you could cook the lamb mince first, drain off some of the fat then cook it inside the dough?

Here's the recipe as per the Sunday magazine:
Lamb, tomato & feta pies

250ml lukewarm water
1 Tbsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
400g high-grade flour
100g fine Italian semolina
olive oil for the bowl

800g lamb mince
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbst dried oregano
3 Tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra for serving
salt and pepper
200g creamy feta, crumbled
250 cheery tomatoes, halved

Put the water into mixing bowl, add yeast and sugar. Let stand in warm place until the yeast has dissolved and mixture is frothy. Mix well. Add flour and semolina. Mix well, then knead for 10 mins until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an olive-oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until it has doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 220C. Put lamb, garlic, oregano and parsley into a bowl, Season well with 1tsp salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Divide dough into 6 portions and roll each into an oval shape about 20cm long and 12cm wide.

Place 1 portion of lamb mixture, broken into small lumps, down the middle of each dough oval. Sprinkle each with feta and tomatoes. Brush edges of each oval with watter and pull them up, pinching the ends to make a canoe shape. Place pies on a baking tray and leave to rise for 10 minutes then bake for 20 mins or until the pies are well cooked.


  1. Yum, lamb, tomato and feta! I think they look great with the bread dough. Maybe cooking the mince first and draining would be the solution, as you say? They look definitely worth another go!

  2. Maybe cooking the mince with spices first would help? They look nice even if they didn't taste as good as you expected! Can't remember the last time I made a Ray McVinnie recipe from SST. Always find them a bit uninspiring!

  3. D'oh, deleted the tab before I published my comment! What I was saying was, I can see how the fat could be disconcerting, but the recipe sounds worth persevering with - such a nice mix of flavours!

  4. I looked at this recipe in the SST and thought "Yuk! lamb mince". But I did like the idea, so I adapted the filling to include red onion, sun-dried tomatoes as well as cheery ones :), goat feta (fairly sharp), pecorino cheese, and chilli flakes - left out the lamb altogether. They were delicious... I've since made an asparagus version, without the pecorino.

  5. I'm glad my girlfriend and I are not the only ones who have thought the same re Ray McVinnie's recipes - not once have I been tempted or inspired over the years. The imagined flavours just haven't appealed - and I honestly look at his column every single weekend! I do agree with you Miriam that lately they have looked a tad more tempting. :)

  6. I love it when a recipe insipires such comment! And when people go off and interpret it in their own way! Mine are just cooling down. I cooked the lamb mince with courgette, cumin and cinnamon as well as a little diced onion. I mixed through the garlic and parsley as directed and topped with creamy feta and diced tomato. I also made a couple for the kids at the same time - ham and camembert!


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