braised lamb, butternut and stracchino filo pies

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5kg lamb neck, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 10 sprigs marjoram
  • 2 whole dried chillies
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup (250ml) red wine
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ cups (375ml) chicken stock
  • 1kg butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled, seeds removed and chopped
  • 300g stracchino+, chopped
  • 8 sheets filo (phyllo) pastry
  • 50g melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper, and cook, in batches, for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, marjoram and chillies and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the tomato paste and wine and cook for 30 seconds. 
  2. Return the lamb to the saucepan, add the chopped tomato and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 hour or until the lamb is tender. Add the pumpkin, increase heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 20–30 minutes or until the pumpkin is almost tender and the sauce has reduced slightly.
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Divide the lamb mixture and stracchino between 2 x 5-cup-capacity (1.25-litre) baking dishes. Brush each of the filo sheets with butter and layer to make 2 stacks of 4 sheets. 
  4. Scrunch each stack slightly and place on top of each baking dish. Brush with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the poppy seeds. Place on a large oven tray and cook for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve. Serves 6–8.

+ Stracchino is a young Italian cow’s milk cheese. Find it at delicatessens and cheese stores. You can also use provolone or mozzarella. 

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