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.
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)
- 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
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.
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.
Continue to saute for a further two or three minutes until the onion strands are just softened and turning translucent.
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.
Stir well and saute for another two to three minutes to just soften the pepper slices.
Pour the canned tomatoes in to the pot and stir well to combine.
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.
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.
When very little liquid remains in the chili, add the chickpeas and the cilantro and stir well.
Turn the heat off under the pot, cover and leave the chili to cool completely. Refrigerating overnight is recommended but not essential.
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.
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.
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.
Leave the pasties on a plate for the pastry to relax while your oven preheats to 425F/210C/Gas Mark 7.
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.
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.