Spiced Squash, Lamb and Spinach Phyllo Pie

A great way to use up leftover lamb, this pie is packed full of vegetables, spices and different textures. While the various stages take a little time to complete, none are hard, and the end result is infinitely rewarding.

As a bonus, next time you have vegetarian guests to feed, simply omit the lamb for a showstopping feast that everyone will love.

You will need a 9-inch (23cm) springform tin.

Feeds 6

Ingredients

1kg butternut squash, halved and de-seeded, skin left on
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch or two of chilli flakes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped shallots
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 tbsp Manzanilla sherry (optional)
¼ cup water
300g frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed of any water, and chopped roughly
¾ cup whole wheat couscous
½ cup raisins
1 cup boiling water
200 – 250g cold, cooked lamb, cut into small dice
100g feta cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
8 sheets phyllo pastry

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C / 190C Fan.

Chop the squash into small (2cm) cubes and transfer to a baking tray.

In a small bowl, mix together the ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and chilli flakes.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the squash, then sprinkle over 1 ½ tsp of the spice mix along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss well. Shake the squash into an even layer and roast for an hour, tossing occasionally, until the squash is tender and charred in places. Set aside to cool.

Tip: Test the squash for doneness after about 45 minutes and keep checking. Some squash cook faster than others for some reason.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the rest of the filling. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, the chopped shallots, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until softened, then add the garlic and remaining spice mix. Cook for another minute or two, then add the diced peppers and give everything a stir. Add the sherry, if using, and allow it to bubble away. Next add the water, then clamp on a lid and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened. Add the thawed, squeezed and chopped spinach and cook for another minute or two, then turn the heat off and set aside to cool slightly.

Rehydrate the couscous and raisins by first adding them to a large bowl that will take the rest of the filling later. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then pour over the boiling water and cover with a plate or some cling film and leave for 10 minutes. Fluff up with a fork.

Now you’re ready to bring the filling together. To the couscous bowl, add the roasted squash, the pepper and onion mixture, the cold, chopped lamb, the crumbled feta cheese and the chopped coriander. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required. Set aside the filling until ready to assemble the pie.

Make ahead: Filling can be prepared a day in advance, as long as you haven’t cooked your lamb too long ago.

To assemble the pie, you will need a 9-inch (23cm) springform tin. Lightly brush the inside of the tin with olive oil.

Unroll your pack of phyllo pastry and keep under a damp tea towel while you work to prevent the pastry from drying out.

Working one sheet at a time, lay a sheet of pastry on a chopping board. Cut the sheet of pastry in half and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay each piece of pastry in the springform tin, coming halfway into the centre of the base, pressing in and up the sides, and allow the rest of the piece to drape over the side of the tin. (See photo below for reference.) Repeat with the other half of the phyllo sheet on the other side of the tin. Carry on in this fashion all the way around the tin until you have used up the 8 sheets.

Tip the filling into the pastry-lined tin and smooth into an even layer. Next, pick up the overhanging edges of phyllo and fold them back and over the top of the pie, scrunching and draping, until you have a scrunched top and all the pieces have been folded over.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400F / 200C / 190C Fan for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let stand in its tin for 10 minutes, then remove the pie from its tin and transfer to a board for slicing.

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