Spiced & Sweetly Satisfying Mini Meat Pies for the Holidays!

Earlier this year we had participated in a recipe contest showcasing Cedar Springs Veal Stew with Coconut Milk and Asian Spices. This time around we partnered with Mountain States Rosen (MSR) to highlight not just their tender veal but also lamb, a staple delicacy in Asia, which remains largely under-appreciated in America.

Speaking of lamb, when I hear the word lamb, I think of rich and deep flavor, juicy-melting in your mouth meat, crisp intensely flavored crust layered with sweet spices like Seekh Kebab (grilled meat on a stick of your dreams). I expect herbaceous nuances and perfectly pink hues. And when I “met” homegrown lamb from Mountain States, it was all of the above and more!

What you need to know about Shepherds Pride Lamb:

  • Shepherd’s Pride Lamb is never-ever given any antibiotics or hormones.  It is all natural with no additives or artificial ingredients, raised in natural surroundings–grazing on on a natural, indigenous diet of wild grasses, herbs and flowers, topped off with wholesome, vitamin­-packed grains.
  • Forty percent of the fat in lean cuts of lamb is monounsaturated, the same kind of “good” fat found in olive oil.
  • A 3- ounce cooked serving, on average, provides almost half of the daily recommended amount of protein, and nearly five times the amount of essential omega 3 fatty acids as the same portion of beef.

We were planning on recreating holiday-inspired hand pies, but the sheer purity of Cedar Springs Lamb made us take a delicious detour with our family’s favorite Indian kebabs – Shammi. Lamb and yellow lentils, infused with sweet baking spices, spiked with coriander and onions, golden crusted, dipped in vibrant mint chutney – we have one word for you – addictive!

American Lamb Shammi Kebabs


  • 1 lb Shepherds Pie or Cedar Springs boneless lamb stew meat or ground lamb
  • 1 cup channa aal (yellow lentils)
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger
  • 1 tbs garlic
  • 10 whole dry red chilies (ethnic store)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 2  cinnamon sticks
  • 3 black cardamom (optional)

To Assemble:

  • 1 tsp kewda essence (almond essence)
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup coriander, minced
  • 1 egg wash
  • breadcrumbs
  • Oil to fry


  1. Wash and rinse the lamb and lentils in a pressure cooker. Add ginger, garlic, whole spices listed above and add enough water to cover the meat. Close the pressure cooker and cook on high heat until you hear the 1st whistle. Reduce heat to low and cook for additional 10 minutes or 2 whistles. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, bring the mixture to boil and simmer for 45 minutes, covered with a lid.
  2. Once cooked, make sure the mixture is completely dry. Boil on high heat till moisture dries out from the meat and lentils. Cool.
  3. Grind the mixture in a food processor to a fine paste. You can make it a day head until this point.
  4. To assemble, add almond essence, onions, and coriander leaves to mixture and form small golf ball sized patties, slightly flattened.
  5. Dip each kebab in the egg wash, coat with breadcrumbs and fry on medium-high heat until golden brown. Serve immediately with mint chutney.

Empanadas come in all shapes and sizes. Baked or fried, you’ll encounter these handheld pockets of pure goodness in every part of the world – Calzone in Italy, Samosa in India, Dumplings in SE Asia, Pastelillos in Cuba. We are combining a butter rich dough with sweet onions, golden raisins, caramelized onions, and Cedar Springs Lamb that delivers perfection in every bite. In the interest of time, feel free to substitute lamb stew meat for ground lamb.

Without further adieu, let’s start baking!

American Lamb Empanadas

If you prefer a flaky pastry, use the Pata Brisee for making the holiday pie. For empanadas, we prefer the buttery dough featured here. Either ways, foodgasm is ensured.

Ingredients for the lamb filling:

  • 1 lb Shepherds Pie or Cedar Springs Lamb boneless stew meat or ground lamb meat
  • EVOO
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 1 big onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons raisins, diced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 egg combined with 2 tablespoon water for egg wash


Meat Filling:

  1. Chop the lamb to a minced meat consistency.
  2. On medium-high heat sauté the lamb, onions, and jalapeño in evoo until the filling is golden brown.
  3. Add cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper, tomato ketchup, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, covered, or until lamb is tender. Cool.


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly flour a rolling-pin and counter. Roll the chilled pastry dough into 1/8 of an inch dish or rectangle.
  3. Using a 4 inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out circles of dough. Re-roll the scraps and continue making circles until the dough is used, approximately 20-25.
  4. Spoon 1 tsp of filling on each circle. Apply egg wash on the edges of the border.
  5. Fold the dough over in half to enclose the filling and form a semi-circle. Tightly seal the edges by crimping with a fork.
  6. Place the empanadas on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. Serve warm with Jalapeno Cream Sauce.



Cedar Springs Veal Mini Hand Pies

Encased in a Pâte Brisée with herbs de Provence, these little mini pies are flaky and filled with an irresistible combination of Cedar Springs Veal, sweet baking spices, and walnuts!  A mouth-watering addition to your family holiday table or friendly potluck…….

Ingredients for pie dough:

  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 stick (8 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tsp herb de Provence or mixture of dried lavender and thyme
  • 1/3 cup ice chilled water

Ingredient for veal filling:

  • 1 lb Cedar Springs boneless veal stew meat (diced) or ground veal
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground all spice
  • 1 tsp ground green cardamom (optional)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or cashew nuts
  • 1 cup currants golden raisins
  • 1 tsp orange essence or 1 whole orange, zest
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour combined with 2 tbs butter
  • 1 whole egg wash


  1. For the pâte brisée, combine flour, salt, and herbs de Provence in a bowl, stir to combine. Cut the butter into flour mixture by hand or in food processor (small chunks of butter should be visible. Add cold water and process till dough comes together. Divide the dough into ¾ and ¼ portions, wrap with plastic foil and chill overnight.
  2. For the filling, sauté the veal in evoo until reddish brown. Add rest of the ingredients including chicken stock and flour/butter mixture. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes or until veal is tender. Ensure the mixture leans towards dry than wet. Can be made a day ahead.
  3. Pre-heat the oven for 400 degrees F (230 C) on baking day.
  4. You can make one 8” inch pie, mini pies in muffins or tartlet pans, or shape them as empanadas too. For mini pies – Roll out the ¾ pâte brisée on a lightly floured surface to around 1/8th or thinner. Gently fit into the desired shape and mold.
  5. Fill the pan with veal filling.
  6. Roll the remaining ¼ dough into 1/8th thinness and cover the filled pie pans. Slash 4 mini cuts on the top for steam to escape. Brush with egg wash and bake for 35-45 minutes for small shapes and 1 hour for 8” pie or until crust is golden brown.
  7. Serve warm or room temperature with your favorite festive bubbly.

As the only vertically integrated and producer-owned lamb and veal company in the U.S., Mountain States Rosen (MSR) oversees quality control from the pasture to the plate. Providing a yearlong supply of fresh, high-quality, high-integrity products is the result of more than 65 combined years of dedication, industry expertise and solid relationships up and down the supply chain.

I say Christmas came early for some folks this year. Whether you choose the spicy lamb filling or the sweet and savory veal stuffing, be prepared to win bragging rights for “the best holiday dish”!  And, to bring even more comfort and joy into your holiday season, Primlani Kitchen fans have a chance to win some of this delicious U.S. lamb and an eco-smart Pendleton wool blanket.

Loving these drool-worthy photographs? Contact The Primlani Kitchen to discuss your food photography options. Happy holidays!


Disclaimer:   Veal and lamb were provided by Mountain States Rosen in collaboration with Prevail Strategic Marketing. Recipes and opinions are my own. Food photography by The Bokeh Studio.

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