Shepherd’s Pie

After posting a French classic recipe, I thought I’d follow the trend and post a British classic – shepherd’s pie. It is a variation of cottage pie. Cottage pie refers a British or Irish dish made with minced beef topped with a mashed potato crust. Shepherd’s pie, on the other hand, uses mutton or lamb. Traditionally, these pies are made with leftover pot roast or stew, but nowadays, minced meat is also used. The recipes for cottage/ shepherd’s pie are pretty forgiving, so it’s a great way of getting rid of leftovers. The filling should be really rich and flavorful. As for the mashed potato topping, just remember to put in lots and lots of cheese!

Shepherd's pie

Adapted from Gordan Ramsay’s recipe
For filling:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g minced lean lamb
  • 1 large onion – finely grated
  • 1 large carrot – finely grated
  • 3 cloves garlic – pressed
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • Handful of thyme sprigs – leaves picked, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary – needles chopped
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 250 ml chicken stock

For topping:

  • 1 kg potatoes – peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Parmesan, for grating

For mashed potatoes topping:

  • Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.
  • Drain then return potatoes to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly.
  • Pass them through a potato ricer or mash the potatoes then beat in the egg yolks, followed by lots of grated Parmesan.
  • Season with black pepper and salt.

For lamb filling:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan until hot.
  • Season the mince and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat until the lamb is “frying” in its own oil.
  • Tilt the pan and discard the oil, leaving about 1 tbs of oil in the pan.
  • Stir the onions and carrot into the mince then grate the garlic in as well.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the red wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated.
  • Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened.

To assemble:

  • Spoon the mince into the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, layer the mashed potato generously on top of the mince, starting from the outside and working your way into the middle.
  • Cover the surface with more grated parmesan.
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.
  • Fluff up the mash potato with a fork to make rough peaks. Bake in the 180˚C pre-heated oven for approximately 20 mins, or until bubbling and golden brown.