I love comfort foods in the winter. Hearty stews, warm potatoes and creamy sauces always feel like they're going straight to my heart when I eat them. Who cares if its 75 degrees outside in Scottsdale?! I'm making a fire in the fireplace, pouring up a hot toddy and bathing myself in carbohydrates!
But I often wonder what other people are doing in other parts of the world in the winter? Are they eating warm stews and beefy dishes as well? The answer is YES, and today I'm sharing one of my FAVORITE European dishes, with an easy and tasty twist!
Pastys are delicious, savory stuffed pastries that hail from England. No...Pasties...those are what Madonna wore over her bustier in the 80's. These are PASTYS, like..."Gee, I'm glad Facebook didn't exist in my PAST, so everyone could see all the bad choices I made. Got it? Great. Now we can move on with a smile on our faces.
Pastys are stuffed with all kinds of comfort foods like meats, potatoes, veggies, etc. and they're doused in a hearty gravy. So take your favorite stew out of its juices, stuff the goods in some dough, bake it, and then spoon the juices right back over it. Yep. It's that easy!
I'm making it even easier for you today because I'm using a frozen puff pastry dough. If you like, you're welcome to use your favorite home-made pie crust, or spend 8 hours turning and folding your best puff pastry dough every 30 minutes. Good luck with that. I'll throw my stew in the Instant Pot, go shopping for a couple of hours, come home and have my Aussie lamb leg Insta-braised and ready for the baking!
3 lbs. bone-in Aussie Lamb Leg (Open Nature brand from Safeway)
4 boxes of Puff Pastry sheets (8 sheets total)
32 oz. beef stock
2 cups red wine
1 bundle fresh thyme
3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 large bay leaves
3 Russet Potatoes, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup pearl onions, peeled and halved
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. corn starch, dissolved in cold water
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Remove the Puff Pastry boxes from the freezer and set them out to thaw.
Heat the oil in the Instant Pot on sautee. Add the Aussie Lamb Leg, season with salt and pepper and sear for about 3 minutes per side.
Remove the meat and add the potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions. Stir in a bit of the beef stock and the tomato paste until combined. Deglaze the pot with the stock and continue to cook the veggies on sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the Aussie Lamb Leg back in, the rest of the beef stock and red wine, the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Stir to combine, close and lock the lid. Pressure cook on high pressure for 2 hours. Go shopping or drink the rest of the wine in the bottle in front of the fireplace.
Allow the steam to manually release from the Instant Pot for about 30 minutes. While the steam is releasing, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the Puff Pastry sheets from the boxes and lay them out flat on a floured surface. Cut a 6" diameter circle from each of the sheets and discard the trimmings.
When the Instant Pot is finished releasing, remove the lid and shred the Aussie Lamb Leg with a fork, removing the bone, the thyme bundle and the bay leaves. Stir in the frozen peas and combine with the meat and veggies. Adjust the seasoning with salt/pepper if necessary.
To build the pastys: Use a slotted spoon to drain and remove about 1/2 cup of the meat/veggie mixture. Remember to drain as much of the liquid as possible and place the mixture in the center of one of the pastry dough circles. Wet the edges of the dough circle and fold over until the edges meet. Seal the edges with your fingers or the back of a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and place all the pastys on a large baking sheet when finished.
Make an egg wash by beating together the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash lightly over the folded pastys. Place in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and golden brown.
While the pastys are baking in the oven, filter out a few cups of the braising juices to make the gravy. Transfer the juices to a saucepan, heat on medium heat and stir in the dissolved corn starch. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Set aside until ready to use.
Remove the pastys from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes. Cut them in half, place each one on an individual serving dish or bowl. Spoon with gravy, sprinkle a pinch of fresh parsley to finish and serve immediately. COMFORT LEVEL REACHED!!!
Not near a Safeway? Find True Aussie Beef & Lamb here!