Lamb shoulder shawarma and pea pie with sumac butter filo pastry

The coriander shawarma-rubbed lamb shoulder works just as well as a roast.
The coriander shawarma-rubbed lamb shoulder works just as well as a roast. Photo: Katrina Meynink

I fall into the camp that if a dish takes some time, there is a logical moment where one can accept defeat, yet still cobble together a meal. If you attempt this pie but end up short on time or inclination, this is spectacular if you just cook the lamb as is and serve with all manner of salads, breads, condiments and bits 'n' bobs you have on hand.


1 lamb shoulder (about 1.4kg)

4 cups chicken stock

Coriander shawarma

1 bunch coriander, leaves and stems, roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 red onion, roughly chopped

1½ tbsp coriander seeds

1½ tbsp cumin seeds

2 tsp ground cinnamon

4cm piece ginger, roughly chopped

2 tsp smoked sweet paprika

2 tsp ground turmeric

60ml olive oil

zest of 1 lemon

To assemble

½ cup cranberries

¾ cup frozen peas

½ cup soft Persian-style feta

8 sheets filo pastry

½ cup melted butter

1 tbsp sumac


1. Preheat oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional).

2. Combine all the coriander shawarma ingredients in a blender. Blitz to a wondrous fragrant paste. Smear this all over the top of your lamb shoulder. Place the lamb shoulder in a large roasting dish and gently pour in the stock – don't pour the stock over the lamb, the key is to keep that glorious crust.

3. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 hours. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, until the meat falls easily from the bone.

4. Remove the lamb, and use a couple of forks to shred the meat into the residual cooking liquid (discard the bone), before plopping the lot into a high-sided pie dish or ovenproof baking dish. Throw on the cranberries, feta and frozen peas.

5. Increase the oven temperature to 165C fan-forced (185C conventional).

6. Scrunch about 8 sheets of filo pastry and place on top of the lamb mixture. Generously brush the tops with the melted butter, using all the butter, then sprinkle with the sumac.

7. Bake the pie for about 20 minutes or until the filo looks gloriously golden and crisp. Watch closely to ensure this doesn't burn. Serve immediately, being careful not to burn the roof of your mouth.