Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Shepherd's Pie

"If you don't like the English weather, wait a minute" is a famous quote from Mark Twain and he was not wrong. To think last Sunday (2 October) I was sitting outside having lunch in Prezzo. I guess it being autumn we should expect the kind of weather we had today- cloudy and very windy). With this in mind and the fact I made a Chilli con Carne Pie, I decided to make a Shepherds pie. (I am sure you are aware cottage pie uses beef mince and this uses lamb mince)- just what is needed for these shorter days and longer nights.

I thought seeing as I was sent a copy of Angela Harnett's book "A Taste of Home", I decided to make her version as opposed to mine. The recipe is very similar, and so I only had to purchase leeks and Worcester sauce and tomato puree. Plus I had never put egg yolks into my mash potato, which Angela does.

RRP £25
This is an excellent recipe with intense flavours in the mince. You could taste the tangy Worcester sauce and the thyme mingled with the chicken stock to improve the flavour. The topping came out perfectly brown and so eggs yolks will always be added in future! Plus with all that butter and milk it made the mash incredibly rich and creamy. There is only one downside to this dish - it's NOT low in calories. Most of the recipes I make are for 4 people and there is only two of us. So I am going to have to do a run or do a session in the gym if we are having this two nights in a row! A small sacrifice for this perfect dish on a cold and windy night.
  • 500g boneless lamb shoulder or minced lamb
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stick
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves (or dried thyme)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Worcestershire sauce (large splash)
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • salt and fresh pepper for seasoning
  • 600g Potatoes (I used Desiree)
  • 100ml hot milk
  • 100g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
If using lamb shoulder, trim any fat off and cut it into rough 2.5cm cubes, season the cubes with salt and pepper.

Heat half the oil in a heavy-based pan and once it is smoking hot brown the lamb shoulder or mince in batches. Take care not to overcrowd the pan or the meat will stew and not brown; add more oil if needed. Once all the lamb is nicely coloured, remove it from the pan and set aside and continue with this until all the meat has been browned. Once completed discard the oil.
Add the rest of the oil to the hot pan. Add the onion, garlic, leek, celery, carrots and thyme and cook for 4 minutes. Add the tomato puree and stir in and cook for another 2 minutes. Put the lamb back into the pan and add the Worcestershire sauce, then the stock. Cook for another 30 minutes until the lamb is tender, the carrots cooked and the sauce has thickened. Season to taste

Peel and dice the potatoes and cook them in a pan of water (salted if you prefer) for 10-12 minutes. While they are cooking pre-heat the oven to 180C, Fan 160C, Gas mark 4. Gently heat the milk in a pan. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain off all the water and add the butter and hot milk to the pan. Take off the heat and work the potatoes into a smooth puree, and then add the egg yolks and mix them in well.

Spoon the lamb mixture into an ovenproof dish measuring roughly 23x23x5cm, or a round pie dish and cover with the potato topping. Don't worry if sauce comes over the potatoes as it will help with the colouring of the topping. Place the dish on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is a golden and the meat is bubbling up the sides.

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