This is a recipe I've had kicking around for a few weeks now, back when the sun was out (remember that - I think that was our Summer? Whenever I have leftovers, or want something simple but tasty to eat, I generally think of putting things in pastry and making a Pasty. Simple, yes, but that's how I work. To follow my Spanish Pasties from last year, these beauties are thier Greek cousins.
If you want to make your pastry, then a classic shortcrust is what you need – take 200g of Plain Flour, and add 50g of Butter. Add 50g of Lard and a pinch of salt, and rub together with your fingers to make a mix that will resemble breadcrumbs. Add luke warm water slowly – you won’t need a lot, really – until it binds. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before using. If not, then you can buy perfectly good pastry frozen these days.
For the filling, sweat down one large red onion in a couple of teaspoons of Olive Oil. Add Lamb Mince – about 500g – and brown with the onions. Add to this 4 minced cloves of Garlic, 100g of Chopped Olives, and a good few handfuls of torn spinach leaves. Season with black pepper, and the herbs that give it a flavour of Greece; Oregano and Mint. Fresh is always better – chop the leaves and add to taste; but dried will also do – just be generous with the seasoning. Stir in a tablespoon of Tomato Puree to thicken the juices in the pan, and leave the filling to cool.
When ready to cook, pre-heat your oven to 200c. Roll out your pastry and, using a plate or side saucer (depending on how large you want the pasties) and fill one half of the circles with the cooled filling. Before folding over to make the pasties, top the mix with crumbled Feta Cheese. Fold over, crimp, and place on a greased baking tray. Glaze with beaten egg and cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the pasties are golden. Baste a couple of times as you go for a great golden colour. And there you go. Filling pasties that are big on flavour. What's more - they taste even better cold, the next day. Try it.
Total disclosure time - I made these a few weeks ago, with WharfeBank's excellent CamFell Flame in mind. I was lucky enough to get a sample of it from WharfeBank to take home and enjoy - and that's the version that will appear in the next CAMRA New Full Measure magazine (You'll have to get yourself down to a pub to get it, bottle-boys).
However, I'm fully aware that that option isn't open to most of you so in terms of beers to enjoy with it, so try to go for something with a rich, sweet body to contrast with the sharp cheese and bring out the lamb; I've since enjoyed some of this batch (frozen, of course) with Brooklyn Lager and Ringwood's Old Thumper. On top of that, I'd recommend trying out Rudgate's Battle Axe, Butternuts Porkslap Pale (could'nt resist - you can buy it in the UK now!), Cain's Raisin Ale, Meantime Union or Cameron's Strongarm. Off the top of my head.