The first time we ever made Shepherd's Pie was about four years ago, when I still lived in Berlin and owned a very temperamental gas oven. As far as I remember, it was one of the best Shepherd's Pies I have ever tasted (not blowing my own horn ;)). I was contemplating making this for New Year's Eve but we ended up going for Mat's Chilli... because a) it meant Mat would be cooking ;) and b) my oven is too small to make a party size pie :(
This Shepherd's Pie is the sort of dish that you make for your family on a cold and rainy winter evening while listening to your favourite Motown tunes, sipping on a delicious Rioja and enjoying good conversation. And all you need to accompany it is a green salad... if that.
PREPARATION 10 mins
COOKS 2-3 hours
- 500g lean lamb mince (at room temperature)
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 4tbsp tomato puree
- vegetable or coconut oil
- 500ml beef or lamb stock
- 250ml ale or dark beer (optional)
- 1tbsp flour, if needed
- 6 medium size potatoes, peeled and boiled in salty water
- 3-4 tbsps horseradish
- knob of butter
- salt and pepper to season
- Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium to high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sautée until soft. Add the mince bit by bit and fry until browned.
- Mix in the tomato puree and the minced garlic and give it a good stir. Fry everything for a further 5 minutes then deglaze with the ale (if using). Leave to bubble for a few minutes then pour in the stock until the meat is just covered.
- Add the bay leaves and simmer on a medium heat for an hour, stirring every now and then to avoid the meat sticking. If the mix gets too dry top up with a little stock.
- While the meat is cooking mash your potatoes with a masher or put through a ricer, depending on how smooth you like your potatoes. Add the butter and horseradish and mix thorough until everything is well combined. Taste for seasoning.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C. Taste the meat sauce for seasoning and add salt and black pepper if needed. If the mix is too liquid you can thicken it a little by making a roux. In a small pan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot add the flour and stir vigorously using a wooden spoon. When the oil and flour are well combined, start to bubble and slightly brown, your roux is ready. Pour the mixture into your sauce and stir. Leave to cook for a few more minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Pour your meat sauce into a deep baking or pie dish (approx. 20x30cm). Carefully top with the potato mix using a spoon. You don't want to push the sauce down too much as it will start squishing out at the sides. Once the pie is topped, criss cross the mash with a fork. This will create lovely crunch bits.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for a further hour and you're ready to go.
Serve alongside a simple green salad and a hearty red wine or ale.