Torta tal Laham – Nanna Mary’s Meat Pie

One of the meals we all reminisce about when we get together is Nanna Mary’s Meat Pie.  When I was much younger, living away from home for the first time, she sent me the recipe. I still have it, though the paper is yellowing a little at the edges now, it’s lovely to see her handwriting.

The filling takes a few hours as its slow-cooked so it’s good to make a batch up.

  • Put a glug of olive oil into a pot
  • and add a finely chopped garlic clove,
  • a medium, finely chopped onion,
  • a teaspoon of celery seeds,
  • a bay leaf,
  • a pinch of chilli flakes,
  • thyme and some fennel seeds into to sweat
  • along with 500g of best quality minced beef. Once everything is browned,
  • add 300mls of good, strong beef stock and cook on a low heat with the pot lid slightly askew for about 2 hours. If you like, you can add some cubes of par boiled potatoes too; Nanna’s recipe didn’t usually include it, but I do every now and then.
  • Add a cup of peas for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Check the seasoning and add sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper.

Preheat the oven to the temp stated on the short crust pastry pack. Good quality of course. But so much easier for a quick dinner.  Nanna’s pie had pastry all around, so butter the dish well and line with pastry. Quite often, I now I just make a pastry topping for the   pie, but do just as you please.

Put the filling in the dish, top the pie, decorate as you wish, making sure there are a few holes to let the steam out, and brush with an egg wash.

Cook for about 40 minutes until the pastry is crisp and brown. Serve with a green salad and a little mash potato.

A star of a pie.

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