Languedoc Lamb Pie

This superb pie, prepared the classic French manner, may take quite a lot of time, but the effort is well worthwhile.

Serve Languedoc (lahn-geh-dock) Lamb Pie with sliced tomatoes and buttered peas for a superb and filling meal.

4 SERVINGS

6 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt l-2 oz. butter I2 oz. vegetable fat

1 to

2 tablespoons ieed water FILLING

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

8 fl. oz. chicken stock

8 fl. oz. white wine

2 parsley sprigs, chopped

½ teaspoon dried sage

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into

1-inch lengths

8 oz. pork sausage meat

2 oz. butter

6 small noisettes of lamb

8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

12 black olives

1 egg, lightly beaten

Using a pastry brush, lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish with the teaspoon of oil. Set aside.

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the butter and vegetable fat and cut them into small pieces with a table knife. Using your fingertips rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add

1 tablespoon of iced water and, with a knife, mix it into the flour mixture. Knead the dough lightly until it is smooth and elastic, adding the remaining table-spoon of iced water if necessary. Wrap the dough in greaseproof or waxed paper and refrigerate it for

20 minutes.

To prepare the filling, place the stock, wine, parsley, sage, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Place the pan over moderate heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Add the parsnips and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the pan from the heat and drain the parsnips. Reserve 4 fluid ounces of the cooking liquid.

Spread the pork sausage meat over the bottom of the pie dish. Set aside.

In a large frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the parsnips and fry for 4 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the parsnips to the pie dish and spread them out over the sausage meat.

Add the lamb to the pan and fry, turning occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the meat is lightly and evenly browned.

With a slotted spoon, remove the lamb from the pan and arrange it on top of the parsnips.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the pan and pile them on top of the lamb. Arrange the olives on top. Set the pie dish aside.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400 °F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C).

Remove the dough from the refriger-ator and, on a floured surface, roll it out into a piece slightly larger than the top of the pie. Lift the dough on the rolling pin and lay it carefully over the filling. Press the edges down firmly and crimp them with your fingers. Using a pastry brush, coat the dough with the beaten egg. With a sharp knife, mark a small square hole in the centre of the dough.

Place the pie in the centre of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven. Carefully lift out the square of pastry in the crust. Insert a kitchen funnel in the hole and pour the reserved parsnip cooking liquid into the pie. Replace the pastry square carefully and return the pie to the oven. Bake for a further 20 minutes.

Remove the pic from the oven and serve hot or cold.

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