Authentic winter comfort Karoo lamb pie

The Karoo is famous for fynbos, and so equally anything that lives off that fynbos will hold the delicate cinnamon and eucalyptus flavours from the bush. The Karoo farmers have to go through quite a process to get their lamb certified, and it’s that monitoring, along with the quality, that makes the product something for us South Africans, to be proud of.  Karoo lamb is perfect for winter, being synonymous with blazing fires and star gazing on crisp, winter nights. You’ll have to start this recipe before you light the fire though, as with all pies it may take a bit of time to prep, but it’s for those days that you want to spend rolling out pastry, slow cooking meat and producing something pretty special. Basically, this is a recipe for when you want to pull out all the stops.
In order for farmers to qualify for Karoo certification, they need to provide evidence that their farms are located in the specific regions, as well as provide proof that they practice free range production systems on indigenous veldts. Chat to your butcher for more information on where your lamb comes from to make sure yours is a genuine Karoo lamb


Makes: 1 pie | Serves: 6–8 | Prep: 1 hour | Cook: 2 hours 5 minutes

For the filling
A splash of olive oil
2.5 kg Karoo certified stewing lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground ginger
3 heaped tsp freshly ground coriander
3 tsp mustard powder
1 Tbsp flour
150 ml red wine
600 ml water
350 ml lamb stock
2 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp vinegar
salt and pepper
For the pastry
250 g flour
½ tsp salt
150 g butter, at room temperature
170 ml water, mixed with the juice of half a lemon


For the filling
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and fry the pieces of meat to brown them slightly. Remove and set aside.
2. Place the chopped onion in the pan and fry until soft.
3. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, ground ginger and coriander, and cook for a few minutes longer.
4. Add the pieces of meat, mustard powder, red wine, water, sugar, and vinegar.
5. Cook for 1 hour until the meat is soft and tender.
6. Add 250 ml lamb stock, once the liquid has cooked away. Remove and allow to cool.
For the pastry
1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Divide the butter into 4 portions.
3. Rub one of the portions of butter into the flour and salt mixture.
4. Add the water and bring together to form a soft dough.
5. Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, approximately 30 cm x 10 cm (3 times as long as it is wide).
6. Preheat the oven to 200° C.
7. Divide the rectangle into 3 parts by making a mark with a knife, then place dots of the butter mix on the top two-thirds of the pastry.
8. To roll the pastry up, fold the bottom third (with no butter on it) over the middle third, then fold the top third over that.
9. Seal the edges and turn the pastry so that the edge closest to your left hand has no seals, resembling a book with its cover on your left and pages to your right.
10. Cover the pastry with cling film, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
11. Roll out the pastry again and repeat this process until the butter is used up (resting it in the fridge for 10 minutes in-between each rolling. This will allow the fat to solidify which will create the lovely layers in the pastry).
12. When finished, remove the pastry and roll it out larger than the pie dish. Make a cross in the centre with a knife (where the pie funnel will push through).
13. Place a pie funnel in the pie dish and pour the lamb filling around it.
14. Top the pie with the pastry, placing the cross over the pie funnel, then pressing the edges of the pastry into the dish.
15. Trim the edges and use for decoration if desired.
16. Brush with beaten egg yolk and pop it into the oven.
17. Bake for 45–50 minutes until the pastry has risen and golden.
Remove and serve immediately, with quince or redcurrant jelly.
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