Shepherd’s Pie

Ah, nothing like a nice big pan of comfort food on a cool winter night, especially when I’m not cooking it!  Now don’t get me wrong; I enjoy cooking but it’s nice to get a break every weekend when Chef P takes over the culinary kitchen duties.

Tonight’s specialty is Shepherd’s Pie.  A mixture of lamb mince, veggies and stock covered with a coating of mashed potatoes and baked in the oven.  (There is also Cottage Pie which is made pretty much the same way, except that beef mince is used.)

The recipe he’s using calls for onions and carrots as the veggies, but he added a couple of chopped spring onions/green onions/scallions, 1-2 stalks of celery and a cup of peas just to give it some more bulk.  He also used a mixture of potatoes and swede(like turnips) for the topping, but again, that is a personal preference.

~~SHEPHERD’S PIE~~

Serves 6

1 Tbsp olive oil

2-3 onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

675g/1 1/2 lbs good quality lamb mince

2 carrots, thinly sliced

2 spring onions, chopped (optional)

1-2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)

1 C frozen peas (optional)

1 Tbsp plain flour

225ml/8 fl oz beef or chicken stock (or lamb stock if you got it)

125ml/4 fl oz red wine

Worcestershire sauce

FOR THE MASH

675g/1 1/2 lbs floury potatoes, such as King Edwards or Maris Piper

55g/2oz butter

2 Tbsp milk or cream

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180c/350f

Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole pan (we used cast iron pot with lid) and fry the onion until softened and then add the garlic and stir well.

Raise the heat and add the meat.  Cook quickly to brown the meat all over, stirring continually.  Add the veggies and season well with salt and pepper.

Stir in the flour and add the stock and wine.  Stir well and heat until simmering and thickened.

Cover the casserole pan and cook in the oven for about 1 hour.  Check the consistency from time to time and add a little more stock or wine if required.  The neat mixture should be quite thick but not dry.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a little Worcestershire sauce.

While the meat is cooking, make the mashed potatoes.  Cook the peeled and cut potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes.  Drain well and mash until smooth.  If you are going to do the mixture of swede and potato, cook them separately then mix together prior to mashing.  Add the butter and milk and season well with salt and pepper.

Spoon the lamb mixture into an ovenproof serving dish and let cool about 10 minutes.

The meat mixture prior to the mash topping

Then spread or pipe the mash on top.

Increase the oven temperature to 200c/400f and cook the pie for 15-20 minutes at the top of the oven until golden brown.  You might like to finish it off under the grill/broiler for a really crisp brown topping on the potato.

We put it under the grill to brown the potatoes!

Shepherd's Pie

This was EXCELLENT!  I had to stop myself from putting too much on my plate!  Even after we were done, I took another spoonful from the pan before putting the leftovers away!  Chef P came into the kitchen and saw that the pan was empty and asked ‘did you put it away already or did you eat the rest of it?’  I had to admit it had been put away…if it wasn’t so filling, I might have eaten it all!

Enjoy!

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