• Scraps of Lamb Pie

    Contributed by

    Justin Bonello

    Cook, traveller, father, husband, filmmaker, gardener... and not particularly in that order. Filmmaker, veteran presenter, author and Head of Production at Cooked in Africa Films, Justin Bonello has worked in the film industry since he was 14 years old and is the co-founder of one of South Africa's leading film production companies. To date he and managing partner, Executive Producer, Peter Gird have produced more than 23 television series broadcast in over 100 countries around the world and they have no plans to stop any time soon. Justin has done the very thing that we all dream of - taking the things he cares most deeply about and making his world revolve around them. His passion for the outdoors and South Africa's untamed beauty is rooted in his childhood where he spent weekends on the Breede River and holidays on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. As he grew up, so too did his appetite for good, wholesome, down-to-earth food.
    Published with permission from COOKED IN THE KAROO by Justin Bonello, www.justinbonello.com. Photography Louis Hiemstra and Cooked in Africa films. All rights reserved.

    Most of my road trip through the Karoo involved learning a whole lot of new things, but the only way I could do that was to spend a couple of days with the people who call it their home. One morning I wandered into the Elandsvlei house where I found Shiela busy in the kitchen making a lamb pie. She was using the meat from a lamb that was slaughtered a couple of days earlier. Usually the specific cut of meat she used would either be fed to the dogs or just minced up and added to sausage meat. It's not something a city slicker would really ever see at the butcher: Shiela calls it the 'lieslap' of the lamb, and in English that's the flank, so ask your butcher to source it for you. This is another example of a typical Karoo recipe where nothing goes to waste and where every part of the animal gets used.

    This is what you're going to do:

    Phone your butcher and ask him if he has any Lamb Flank. Once you've succeeded in getting your hands on some flank, chop it up and put it in a big pot, cover with water, add a pinch of salt and cook until the lamb is tender. Remove from the stove, drain the meat and let it cool down.

    Now, you'll need:

    In a separate pot, melt a knob of butter and sauté the copped onion until soft. Next, add the green pepper and then the lamb. Take the store-bought packet of soup, mix it in a cup of boiling water and pour it over the lamb. Turn down the heat and let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. The lamb pie filling is ready once the sauce has thickened. Scrape the mixture into a medium sized baking tray and get ready to make the easiest dough in the world. I'm pretty sure this dough will be any pastry chef's worst nightmare because this recipe doesn't give you any exact measurements. You're going to make it using a bit of guts and instinct. When Shiela showed me how she makes it I was baffled - I didn't think it would ever work, but the end result was surprisingly delicious.

    For the Batter:

    Put the cup of flour in a fairly large measuring jar, whisk the egg and add it to the flour. Add a pinch of salt and stir the flour until mixed. Add to this enough milk, so that when it's all mixed together, the consistency is slightly thicker than pancake dough. And if you're wondering, Shiela says it doesn't matter if the dough is lumpy. Go figure. The last step is to simply pour the batter over the filling so that the lamb is completely covered. Pop it in a preheated oven (180°C) and let it bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with some pumpkin, salad and a mint sauce or jelly.


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