Ingredients -50g mixed dried wild mushrooms, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1kg lamb shoulder cut into cubes, 3 medium onions, roughly chopped, 2 tbsp plain flour, 14 juniper berries, 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only roughly chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 3 tbsp Fino Dark Balsamic, 350ml red wine, salt and freshly ground pepper, 200g field mushrooms, sliced, 15g unsalted butter, 1 sheet pre rolled puff pastry, 1 egg, beaten

1.     Cover the dried mushrooms with 150ml boiling water and leave to soak for 30 mins.

2.     Heat half the oil in a large heavy based saucepan on a high heat and brown the lamb in batches. Once browned remove the meat with a slotted spoon, reduce the heat and then add the onions to the fat in the pan. Saute until soft and pale golden.

3.     Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Crush the juniper berries in a mortar, add the rosemary and bruise it to release it’s fragrance. Add to the onion, along with the garlic, and cook for two minutes, stirring.

4.     Deglaze the pan by adding the balsamic and wine, stirring to dislodge all the flavour stuck to the base and sides. Put the lamb back in to the pan, together with all the juices that have seeped from it and add the wild mushrooms with their soaking liquor. Bring the mixture to the boil, season, then immediately turn down the heat as low as you can and cover with a lid. Leave to cook gently for 1.5 hours, stirring from time to time. Alternatively put in the simmering oven of the Aga or a moderate oven (160C) for the same time.

5.     When there is about 30 minutes cooking time left, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and quickly sauté the fresh mushrooms over a high heat. When they are well coloured, add the butter for flavor and season. Add to the lamb. You should find that the juices around the lamb are just the right thickness but if not, leave the saucepan uncovered for a bit so that the cooking liquor can reduce. When cooked allow to cool completely and transfer the stew into a deep pie dish. (Don’t put puff pastry onto a hot filling, it won’t puff up)

6.     Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6

7.     Dampen the sides of the pie dish and drape the pastry sheet over the pie dish leaving a slight overhang and crimp the edges with a fork. Brush with an egg wash and lightly criss cross with a knife, make two small vent holes  in the top and bake for 25-40 mins in the preheated oven or the roasting oven of the Aga until golden brown and the pastry is cooked through.


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