Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

It’s been misty in the mornings this week.  C has started pre-school.  The leaves are turning and the the nights are drawing in.  Summer is officially over.  Ho hum.  Best make some yummy kid-friendly food to cheer everyone up.  I’m a stickler for (some) rules and this pie is definitely shepherd’s because I use lamb mince – if you use beef it is cottage pie, so there.  I like to fancy mine up a bit and sneak in vegetables all over the place.  This is a recipe that I’ve been making for years but it has evolved over time.  I’d like to say that following the birth of my daughter I decided we needed more vegetables and I’m sneaking them in for her.  Unfortunately this is not true and the only adaption I’ve made for her is to reduce the amount of salt I add (I use reduced salt stock powder and season more lightly these days).  The sneaky vegetables are me being completely lazy and not wanting to make a side dish as well as the main event.  A one pan meal (eventually).  And that’s a hang over from when I worked in one of those office type jobs, where you leave the house early and get home late and then still have to knock up a proper dinner.  Fact is that shepherd’s pie from scratch is a bit of a faff, so I would rarely make it midweek, but even though I really like eating (clearly) I’d usually rather spend precious weekend time making cakes and desserts.  So, through design it probably doesn’t need a side vegetable but if you did want something else I can recommend a little steamed broccoli.  To attempt this mid-week I’d absolutely be using leftover roast lamb and leftover mash, which you should do if you have this to hand.  The instructions here though, are assuming you’re starting from scratch so you need to give yourself an hour to get this done.

Shepherd’s Pie

Prep time 40 minutes Cook time 20 minutes Makes 4 (adult) servings

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan assisted

  • 400g raw minced lamb, or leftover roast lamb chopped very finely or whizzed in a food processor
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, cleaned and diced
  • 120g peas (I use frozen)
  • 500g ‘mashing’ potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 medium spring onions, sliced
  • half small green or white cabbage, shredded thinly
  • 60g butter
  • 350ml stock (I used Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Reduced Salt)
  • large dash gluten-free Worcester sauce (I use Biona)
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (check it is gluten-free)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • rounded dessert spoon cornflour + a little cold water mixed in
  • salt and pepper
  • splash of milk (optional)

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the potatoes and then brown your mince in a separate large pan (for which you have a lid).  You want to get some colour on it so your resulting sauce will be glossy and brown, but try not to burn it.  Put the potatoes into the water as soon as it reaches boiling point, cover and turn down to a fast simmer.  Now add the diced onion to the mince and turn the heat down, sweating for 5 minutes before adding the diced carrot.  Pop the lid on and cook for another 10 minutes.  While that’s cooking melt the butter in a third, smaller pan and add the sliced spring onion, cooking over a low heat for 5 minutes.  15-20 minutes after you started boiling the potatoes, check to see if they are cooked, and when they are drain and mash or pass through a ricer.   Now add the stock to the mince and stir well to get any sticky bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the Worcester sauce, tomato ketchup and tomato puree, season and and stir through.  Next thicken the mince gravy by adding the cornflour liquid to the pan, stirring constantly.  Add the frozen peas to the mince, stir and replace the lid.  Cook gently for 5 minutes.  In the meantime add the shredded cabbage to the softening spring onion and increase the heat to medium.  Fry until the cabbage is al dente, but be careful not to burn it.  Tip the mince mixture into the bottom of a deep pie dish and spread out level with the back of a spoon.  Add the onion and cabbage in butter to the mashed/riced potato and mix well.  Season and add a splash of milk to slacken it if it feels very stiff.  Spread the potato mix over the top of the mince mixture, marking ridges with a fork that will crisp up nicely.  Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden, before removing and leaving to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Shepherd's Pie (mostly eaten!)

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2 thoughts on “Shepherd’s Pie

  1. That looks like it will stick to your ribs and keep the cold out. Isn’t there just something so simply comforting about mashed potatoes and anything?

    • I adore mashed potatoes. It is the dream comfort food! I’m really struggling with the transition to autumn this year. Our summer has just been so fabulous. Much as I love summer dishes, I’ve needed a rib-sticking winter favourite to remind me what’s good about it getting colder.

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