Chili is a dish normally prepared with beef and served either on its own or perhaps with some boiled rice. The concept of chili is however incredibly versatile, particularly with regard to the type of meat included in the recipe. Lamb makes for an excellent choice in this respect and while the chili thus prepared is delicious alone or with rice, it also works very well wrapped in puff pastry to form a pasty. These pasties can be eaten hot with an accompaniment such as French fries and/or beans, or allowed to cool before being eaten perhaps as part of a picnic or fishing trip lunch.

Lamb Chili Pasty
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Succulent and tasty lamb chili pasty

This is a recipe ideally prepared over the course of two days. The principal reason for this is that the chili must be made and allowed to cool completely before it can be incorporated in the pasties. The additional, sundry benefit of the two day preparation period is that by cooling the chili and refrigerating it overnight, the assorted flavors have a greater period of time in which to infuse.

Ingredients (Makes 8 Pasties)

Bell Peppers, Chilies and Garlic
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Bell pepper halves, chilies and garlic

  • 1 pound ground (minced) lamb
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small white onion
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • 1 medium red chili
  • 1 medium green chili
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 8 ounce can chickpeas in water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf)
  • 1 pound puff pastry
  • Flour for rolling pastry
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil for greasing baking tray


Ground Lamb
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Ground lamb is added to cooking pot and seasoned

Put the ground lamb in to a large pot. Season with salt, pepper and the cumin seeds. Put the pot on to a gentle heat and break up the lamb with a wooden spoon. There is no need for oil or added fat as the natural fat in the lamb will soon be released by the heat. Work the meat in the pot with the spoon until the strands of lamb are all separated and evenly browned. This will take a few minutes but the heat can be gradually increased as the juices are released.

Onions added to Pot
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Sliced onion is added to browned lamb

Peel the onion and cut it in half down through the middle. One half at a time, lay the flat sides down on a chopping board and slice across the way. Add the onion to the pot with the lamb.

Softened Onion
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Onion is cooked down until softened

Continue to saute for a further two or three minutes until the onion strands are just softened and turning translucent.

Peppers added to Pot
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Bell peppers, chili and garlic are added to pot

Cut the core, seeds and membrane out of the bell pepper halves and slice. Top the chilies and slice in to discs. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Add the lot to the pot with the lamb and onion.

Softened Peppers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Peppers are sauteed until softened

Stir well and saute for another two to three minutes to just soften the pepper slices.

Tomatoes added to Pot
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Canned tomatoes are poured in to pot

Pour the canned tomatoes in to the pot and stir well to combine.

Simmering Chili
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Chili is brought to a gentle simmer

Turn the heat up under the pot to bring the liquid to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain as gentle a simmer as possible for twenty to twenty-five minutes (pot uncovered) until the sauce is thickened and the lamb is cooked.

Washing Chickpeas
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Chickpeas are rinsed of their canning impurities

Empty the chickpeas in to a colander in your sink and wash away the canning impurities under running cold water. The more traditional canned kidney beans can be used in exactly the same way instead if desired.

Adding Chickpeas and Cilantro
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Chickpeas and cilantro are added to simmering chili

When very little liquid remains in the chili, add the chickpeas and the cilantro and stir well.

Lamb Chili
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Lamb chili is ready to be covered and left to cool

Turn the heat off under the pot, cover and leave the chili to cool completely. Refrigerating overnight is recommended but not essential.

Rolled Pastry
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Plate is used as template for cutting pastry

Remove the pastry from the fridge around fifteen minutes before it is to be rolled and allow it to reach room temperature. This makes it more pliable, easier to roll and less likely to crack. Cut it in to eight equal sized pieces. Flour a clean, dry rolling surface and roll the first piece of pastry out to a square just large enough that you can use an eight inch plate as a template to cut from it a circle.

Chili Spooned on Pastry
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Chili is spooned on to half a pastry circle

You will need three or four teaspoons of chili per pasty. Spoon it on to one half as shown in the image, leaving a border of around three-quarters of an inch around the edge. Break an egg in to small bowl, beat to combine the white and yolk and use a pastry brush to lightly wet the semi-circular border with the beaten egg.

Crimped Pasty
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pastry is folded over filling and crimped

Fold the empty half of the pastry over the chili and carefully crimp to seal all the way around the edge. Repeat this process seven more times to form all the pasties. Do note that depending upon the size of your oven, you may need to cook the pasties in two batches.

Assembled Pasties
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Assembled lamb chili pasties

Leave the pasties on a plate for the pastry to relax while your oven preheats to 425F/210C/Gas Mark 7.

Oven Ready Pasties
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Pasties are glazed and ready for the oven

Lightly oil a roasting tray or trays with some scrunched up kitchen paper drizzled with oil and lay the pasties on it/them, making sure there is some space between each one. Glaze all over with more beaten egg and cut a steam vent on the top in each instance. Put the tray(s) in to your oven for twenty-five to thirty minutes until the pasties are a dark golden color.

Resting Pasties
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pasties are removed from the oven and rested on a wire rack

When the pasties come out of the oven, they should be lifted to a wire rack to rest for a minimum ten minutes before being served. Alternatively, they can be allowed to cool completely and enjoyed cold.

Ready to Eat
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Lamb chili pasty is ready to eat