2 tins, 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, 1 1/2 inches (4 centimeters) high
Preheat oven 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Stock: If no stock is available, put the bones, carrots, onions, celery and bouquet garni into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and simmer for 3 to 4 hours to make a stock. Strain and set aside.
Filling: Cut all the surplus fat away from the meat and then cut the meat into small, neat pieces about the size of a small sugar lump. Render down the scraps of fat in a hot, wide saucepan until the fat renders. Discard the pieces. Cut the vegetables into slightly smaller dice and toss them in the fat, leaving them to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables and toss the meat in the remaining fat over a high heat until the color turns deep brown.
Heat the cumin seed in the oven for a few minutes and crush lightly. Stir the flour and cumin seed into the meat. Cook gently for 2 minutes and add in the stock gradually. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add back the vegetables, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and leave to simmer, covered. If using young lamb, 30 minutes will be sufficient; an older animal may take up to 1 hour.
Pastry: Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Dice the butter, put it into a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Pour the liquid all at once into the flour and mix together quickly; beat until smooth. At first the pastry will be too soft to handle but as soon as it cools it may be rolled out to 1/3 to 1/4- inch (2.5 to 5 millimeters) thick, to fit the 2 tins. The pastry may be made into individual pies or 1 large pie. Keep back 1/3 of the pastry for lids.
Fill the pastry-lined tins with the meat mixture which should be almost, but not quite cooked and cooled a little. Brush the edges of the pastry with the water and egg wash and put on the pastry lids, pinching them tightly together. Roll out the trimmings to make pastry leaves or twirls to decorate the tops of the pies. Make a hole in the center, brush the lid with egg-wash and then egg-wash the decoration also.
Bake the pies for 40 minutes. Serve with a good green salad.
An Irish tablespoon is the same quantity as an American tablespoon plus a teaspoon
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