With crispy flaky pastry, juicy chunks of slowly cooked lamb, and a thick gravy flavoured with warming Moroccan spices, this tasty Moroccan lamb pie is sure to be requested time and time again.
Ever since I was introduced to lamb keema (which is a delicious minced lamb curry topped with an egg) I've been hooked on Middle Eastern flavours. And I've crammed lots of them into this Moroccan lamb pie!
It's made with lamb shoulder which is cut into chunks and simmered for one and a half to two hours in an aromatic blend of spices. This long, slow cooking process allows plenty of time for the connective tissue in the muscles to break down and turns the lamb into tender chunks that melt in your mouth.
The slow cooking time also allows for the flavours from the spices to penetrate the lamb, which means that every mouthful is packed with flavour.
For a touch of sweetness (and more Middle Eastern taste), I've also added soft dried apricots and crunchy almond flakes.
And for a final flourish, I sprinkled dried cumin seeds on top of the pastry before putting the lamb pie in the oven.
This Moroccan lamb pie pairs well with roasted butternut or pumpkin, and I love to serve it with these Middle Eastern-style runner beans.
This recipe is sufficient to make an 9" x 6" pie, which will easily feed 4 people.
These are the main pieces of equipment you will need:
You will need a baking dish large enough to hold all the ingredients. This set of dishes comes in various sizes so you'll always have the size you need.
For the pastry I like to use a large earthenware mixing bowl so I can rub the butter into the flour without getting flour all over the place.
This marble rolling pin is great for rolling out the pastry.
Given the amazing flavour that this Moroccan lamb pie delivers, there are surprisingly few ingredients. There might seem rather a lot of spices but if you don't have all of them in your cupboard, I've got some easy substitutions.
- Lamb - boneless lamb shoulder is my cut of choice. You could substitute it with stewing lamb, but you'd have to fish the bones out before adding it to the pie.
- Red pepper (capsicum) - you could use either red, yellow or orange peppers. They are sweeter than green, which I why I wouldn't recommend using green peppers in this recipe.
- Onions - either red or white onions will be fine.
- Garlic - (which I forgot to put in the photograph 🙁 ). You can use freshly minced garlic, or just use the equivalent amount of chopped garlic from a jar.
- Flaked almonds
- Soft dried apricots - these are sold in packets in the supermarkets, normally alongside the sultanas and other dried fruits. In Lidl, they are next to the nuts! They add a lovely sweetness to the lamb pie. If you can't find them I would recommend substituting with a handful of sultanas.
- Lemon juice - not too much, one or two tablespoons will be sufficient, or the juice of half a small lemon. It adds a touch of acidity.
- Peas - these are just frozen peas. If you can get them, I would recommend petit pois, otherwise garden peas will be fine.
- Passata - you will need one cup of passata, which is half of a 500-gram carton. You can freeze any leftover passata in a plastic bag for another meal. For those of you who don't know, passata is simply tomatoes that have been blended and then sieved to remove any bits of pips and skin. Substitute with the equivalent amount of tinned tomatoes.
- Stock - I used beef stock (made with an Oxo cube). You could use chicken or vegetable stock instead.
- Flour - this is used to both coat the lamb before browning it, and also to thicken the gravy if necessary. (You might find the gravy doesn't need thickening).
- Salt - (not pictured) - optional, but I like to sprinkle the lamb with salt before browning it.
- Olive oil (not pictured) - used for browning the lamb.
On to the spices - quite a long list, but you can use spice blends instead if you don't have all the spices to hand.
- ground cumin
- ground coriander
- dried mint
- ground nutmeg
- ground cloves
- ground cardamom
- ground cinnamon
- cumin seeds - optional for sprinkling on the pastry
You could substitute these spices with the following blends, which you can find in the spice aisle in the supermarket:
- 1 teaspoon of Moroccan spice (which contains cumin, coriander and mint)
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (which contains nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom)
I haven't tried the blends myself. Different brands may have a different ratio of spices (and perhaps contain other spices too) which may change the flavour profile.
**For the exact quantities of all the above ingredients please see the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
I like to make my own pastry firstly because I think it tastes better than shop-bought, and secondly, because it really doesn't take all that long.
- Flour - this is plain all-purpose flour or cake flour. Don't use self-raising flour - keep that for when you are making cakes and want them to rise.
- Butter - you can use salted or unsalted butter, but if you use salted butter then leave out the extra salt in the recipe.
- Salt - not too much, just a scant half teaspoon for extra flavour.
- Water - used to bind the pastry together.
- Egg - (not pictured) for egg-washing the pastry.
What to do
In a nutshell, these are the steps:
- Make the filling.
- While the filling is cooking, mix the pastry and leave it to rest.
- Line a baking dish with pastry and assemble the pie.,
- Bake the pie until golden.
Make the filling
Place the cubed lamb into a small mixing bowl, and coat it with flour and a sprinkling of salt.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the coated lamb on all sides. This will take 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the lamb from the frying pan and set aside.
If you have a large amount of lamb, do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. If you add too much meat all at once the heat will drop, causing the lamb to release moisture and it will stew rather than brown.
Add the onions, garlic and red pepper to the same pan (you may need an extra splash of oil) and fry them for 4 to 5 minutes on a moderate heat until they start to soften. Stir them often to pick up all the flavours from the lamb.
Tip in all the spices and continue to stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until the spices release their aromas. (This is going to smell amazing!)
Add the almonds, apricots, lemon juice passata and stock. Set the heat to simmer and leave covered for 1 and a half hours. Check occasionally and top up with extra stock if it seems to be drying out.
This is the consistency you are looking for. There should be enough sauce to flow slowly back when you draw a spatula through the mixture.
If the gravy is still quite runny, sprinkle one tablespoon of flour on top, then add the peas. Otherwise, just add the peas. Don't worry about boiling up the filling to cook the gravy - it will cook and thicken once the pie goes into the oven.
Stir well to combine the flour and peas, then set the filling aside to cool.
Please use your own judgment when adding flour to the filling. You want to end up with a thick filling without too much runny gravy. Runny gravy will make the pie soggy. I normally find I need to add one tablespoon of flour at this stage, but it really depends on how much liquid evaporated when you left the filling to simmer.
Make the pastry
If you are using store-bought pastry you can skip this step.
Place the flour, salt and cubed butter into a large mixing bowl.
Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add enough of the water to form a shaggy dough. You may not need all the water. At this stage, the dough should be just starting to come together.
Press the dough together to form a smooth ball and then cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
When making the dough it is important that you handle it as little as possible and do not knead.
If you'd like to be notified of any new recipes, why not subscribe to my newsletter? As a thank-you gift, you will receive a free recipe e-book containing some of my most popular cakes and desserts.
Assemble and bake
Take two-thirds of the pastry and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle large enough to line your pie dish. The pastry should be approximately one-eighth of an inch in thickness.
Line your pie dish with the pastry. Leave enough pastry around the edges so that you can crimp it when you add the lid.
Pour the cooled filling into the pastry shell.
Roll the remaining one-third of the pastry out and use it to cover the pie. Crimp the edges to seal and make a few slits on top with a sharp knife to allow any steam to escape while the pie is in the oven.
Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with cumin seeds.
Bake the pie in a preheated oven (200C / 400F) for 25 to 30 minutes until the top of the pie is golden brown.
Here are a few ways that you could change the taste of this Moroccan lamb pie :
- Spicy - add half a teaspoon of dried chilli pepper flakes or a finely chopped chilli when you are preparing the sauce.
- Bulk it up - add extra vegetables such as chopped carrots, sliced zucchini or sliced green beans.
- Kid-friendly - if you're trying to hide vegetables, why not grate the carrots or zucchini so you get the taste but not the texture?
- More economical - if your budget doesn't run to lamb shoulder, you can get the same delicious taste by substituting the cubed lamb shoulder for low-fat lamb mince.
Yes, you can absolutely freeze this pie. If you are making the pie to store for a future meal, why not assemble it in a disposable aluminium container so that you can free up your baking dish? The assembled (unbaked) pie can be frozen for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to bake it, remove it from the freeze and bake from frozen at the temperature given in the recipe. Add another 10 minutes to the cooking time to compensate.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, transfer the leftovers to a baking sheet and reheat in a moderate oven for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.
You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave, although the pastry will not be crispy.
Save for later
Why not save this Moroccan lamb pie recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
Looking for other Middle Eastern recipes? Try these:
These are my favourite dishes to serve with [this recipe]:
Moroccan lamb pie with apricots
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 1 pound 450 grams boneless lamb shoulder cubed
- 2 tablespoons flour for coating the meat
- ½ teaspoon salt for coating the meat
- 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil for frying
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 medium red pepper chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1½ ounces / 40 grams soft dried apricots chopped
- 1 ounce / 30 grams flaked almonds
- 1 cup / 240 ml beef stock use a stock cube
- 1 cup / 240 ml passata
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 - 2 tablespoons flour for thickening (optional)
Spices and seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- dried chilli flakes (to taste) optional
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds optional
- 1½ cups / 210 grams plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- 5 ounces / 140 grams unsalted butter
- 4 - 5 tablespoons water
- 1 small egg to egg-wash the pastry
- Place the cubed lamb into a small mixing bowl, and coat it with flour and a sprinkling of salt.1 pound 450 grams boneless lamb shoulder, 2 tablespoons flour, ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the coated lamb on all sides. This will take 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the lamb from the frying pan and set aside.2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Add the onions, garlic and red pepper to the same pan (you may need an extra splash of oil) and fry them for 4 to 5 minutes on a moderate heat until they start to soften. Stir them often to pick up all the flavours from the lamb.1 large onion, 1 medium red pepper, 2 cloves garlic
- Tip in all the spices and continue to stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until the spices release their aromas.½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon dried mint, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon ground coriander, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, dried chilli flakes (to taste)
- Add the flaked almonds, chopped apricots, lemon juice passata and stock. Set the heat to simmer and leave covered for 1 and a half hours. Check occasionally and top up with extra stock if it seems to be drying out.1½ ounces / 40 grams soft dried apricots, 1 ounce / 30 grams flaked almonds, 1 cup / 240 ml passata, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 cup / 240 ml beef stock
- Once the lamb has stewed, check the consistency of the gravy. If it is still quite runny, sprinkle the flour on top, then add the peas. Otherwise, just add the peas. Don't worry about boiling up the filling to cook the gravy - it will cook and thicken once the pie goes into the oven.1 cup frozen peas, 1 - 2 tablespoons flour
- Stir well to combine the flour and peas, then set the filling aside to cool.
Make the pastry
- You can make the pastry while the filling is simmering.
- Place the flour, salt and cubed butter into a large mixing bowl.1½ cups / 210 grams plain flour, 5 ounces / 140 grams unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon salt
- Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add enough of the water to form a shaggy dough. You may not need all the water. At this stage, the dough should be just starting to come together.4 - 5 tablespoons water
- Press the dough together to form a smooth ball and then cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
Assemble and bake
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
- Once the dough has rested, remove it from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface.
- Grease your baking dish lightly with butter.
- Take two-thirds of the dough and roll it out into a rectangle large enough to fit your baking dish. The pastry should be approximately ⅛-inch in thickness.
- Line your pie dish with the pastry. Leave enough pastry around the edges so that you can crimp it when you add the lid.
- Pour the cooled filling into the pastry shell.
- Roll the remaining one-third of the pastry out and use it to cover the pie. Crimp the edges to seal and make a few slits on top with a sharp knife to allow any steam to escape while the pie is in the oven.
- Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg and optionally sprinkle with cumin seeds.1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 small egg
- Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the top of the pie is golden brown.
- Serve hot with slices of roasted butternut or pumpkin, or your own choice of vegetables.
- the cumin, coriander and mint can be substituted for a teaspoon of Moroccan spice normally found in the spice aisle of the supermarket.
- the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom can be substituted for one teaspoon of mixed spice.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
If you made this recipe and enjoyed it, I'd love it if you could give me a star rating in the comments below. And if you'd like to get in touch, you can email me at [email protected]. I'd love to hear from you. And don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list so you can grab yourself a copy of my FREE COOKBOOK!
If you'd like to continue browsing, just click on this link to all my recipes.