Traditional Shepherd’s Pie


675g minced lamb
2 carrots, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp black pepper

900g potatoes, unpeeled
60g butter, divided
150 ml milk
½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

1) Take a large, deep frying pan and heat the oil.
2) Add the vegetables, and fry gently, until patched with brown; remove and set vegetable aside.
3) Raise the heat under the pan and add half the mince.
4) Pat it down flat and leave to fry without disturbing for several minutes until the underneath has browned properly.
5) Break the mince up, turning it over.
6) Repeat the browning process, and then lift the mince out of the pan with a slotted spoon.
7) Repeat with the remaining mince.
8) Drain off excess fat and return the mince and vegetables to the pan.
9) Sprinkle over the flour and stir for about 30 seconds.
10) Add the herbs (after tying bay leaf and thyme in a bundle for easy retrieval at the end of the cooking time), enough water to cover, the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
11) Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
12) Simmer for about 45 minutes – adding a little more water if it is drying out.
13) Adjust seasoning, then tip into a pie dish and leave to cool.
14) While the mince is cooking, heat the oven to 220 °C and bake the whole potatoes in the oven until tender.
15) Reduce heat to 190 °C.
16) Scoop the potato flesh out of the skins, and mash with 45g of butter and enough hot milk to give a mash which is fairly soft, but still holds shape.
17) Place the mashed potato over the mince, then spread down lightly in an even layer. Use the prongs of a fork to make patterns on the surface and dot with remaining butter.
18) Bake for around half an hour until the top is browned and the juices from the meat are bubbling up round the edge.

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