My Recipe Box

Dingle Pies

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Serves 8

  • by Colman Andrews from The Country Cooking of Ireland

These savory little pies, a specialty of the Dingle Peninsula and the surrounding region in County Kerry, are featured at the centuries-old Puck Fair every August. They were a popular food in general at public celebrations and on market days in the area, and were also taken up into the hills as lunch for local shepherds.

For the pastry:
  • 2 cups white pastry flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 Tbs. cold water
For the filling:
  • 3 Tbs. canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. trimmed boneless mutton or lamb, preferably from the shoulder or leg, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. white flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1-1/2 cups beef or lamb stock
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh mint
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. milk
Make the pastry:

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the beaten egg and toss with a fork, gradually adding 1 to 3 Tbs. more of cold water, until the dough can be gathered into a ball.

Halve the dough and on a board lightly dusted with flour, and pat each half into a 4- to 5-inch disk. Wrap each disk separately in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or as long as 24 hours before using.

Make the filling:

Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring often, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Slowly add the stock, stirring to deglaze the pan. Return the vegetables to the skillet, add the mint and thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes more. Set aside to let cool.

Assemble and bake the pies:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured board into a disk about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the disk into 8 rounds about 4 inches in diameter with a cookie cutter or the floured rim of a glass. Repeat the process with the remaining pastry to make 16 rounds in all.

Put about one-eighth of the meat mixture in the middle of a pastry round, then wet the edges with a bit of water. Top with a second pastry round, then press down the edges and crimp with the tines of a fork. Cut a slit in the top of the pie and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining meat filling and pastry, arranging the pies on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of the pies with milk and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer

Our family has been making meat pies or mutton pies for years. Our Nana passed her recipe onto her family and have been proudly made her way for over 100 years. Anyone who has visited Castlegregory, Co. Kerry Ireland knows of my Nana's pies. Although my family makes the original recipe, which is different in a number of ways than this recipe listed, anyone who is lucky enough to try it will love this for life. This is the comfort food for our family and we will continue to pass this tradition on for generations to come.

Note that I am only rating the pastry crust. I used it with a different filling, and it is FABULOUS. The best pastry crust I've ever had on a savory pie.

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