My Favourite Shepherd's Pie


My Favourite Shepherds Pie

Have you ever had one of those days where everything you made turned out bad? Well, I had one of those - FOR THE WHOLE WEEK! Even recipes that I've tried and done many times failed horribly. It was not pleasant. After 3 tries that went south, I was hungry, tired, angry and ready to throw in the towel.

On days like this, what I crave is a piping hot meal that is so good it makes me forget my unhappiness. Enter the Shepherd's Pie - one of my all time favourite comfort foods. Shovelling spoonfuls of it into my mouth makes me forget all about my baking failures. You know what's the best part? You can make this in advance, refrigerate it and eat it over a few days if nobody else in the family devours it ;p

Just so you know, Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb, and cottage pie is made with beef. While the recipe calls for lamb, I frequently use pork or chicken in my pies. As opposed to baking, cooking doesn't call for very specific measurements in terms of ingredients, so feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking!

My Favourite Shepherds Pie

Yields: 2 servings
For the Mince:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
400g lean meat (you can use beef, lamb, pork or chicken)
Ground black pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
Knob of butter (~1tbsp)
1 sprig fresh thyme and rosemary (or a mixture of Italian herbs)
1 - 3 Tbsp tomato puree (your preference - i usually use 3tbsp)
75ml red wine
Splash of Worcestershire sauce (about 2 tbsp)
330ml chicken stock

For the Mashed Potatoes:
2 to 3 medium sized potatoes (I use Russet potatoes)
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp milk
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese shavings (optional!)

Print this recipe
For the Mince:
Preheat oven to 200°C.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil until hot, add the mince, season with pepper and fry until well browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and place in a metal colander to allow the excess oil to drain.

Melt butter in the pan, add chopped onion, shredded carrot and thyme. Cook until the onions turn soft and translucent. Then add the meat and tomato purée. Add the red wine and Worcestershire sauce and cook until the liquid has reduced to half the original volume. Add the chicken stock, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 30-40 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy. Allow to cool, then check the seasoning.

For the Mashed Potatoes:
Peel and cut the potatoes into similar sized pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until a fork slides into the potatoes without resistance. The potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.

Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes are done draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove over low heat. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients. Take the pot off the stove and add the butter and milk. Mash it! Then, add salt and black pepper to taste.

Put the mince into a large baking dish (or 2 dishes for 2 servings), then top with the mashed potatoes. Use a fork to rough up the top (or smooth it - your choice!) Add a generous layer of Parmesan shavings on top of your mashed potatoes before baking if you like.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown in colour.
I use fresh herbs when I can get my hands on them, or else an Italian herb mill works great.

The amount of chicken stock you use depends on whether it is homemade or store bought. Store bought chicken stock tends to be more salty and you should use less than the recommended 330ml. You can always add salt if its not salty but you cannot make your mince less salty!

My mashed potatoes recipe does not contain any eggs and it is the way I like it - if you have a favourite mashed potatoes recipe, you can substitute with that.

I do not add any cheese or egg wash my mash, which is why it looks very pale in the picture. If you like cheese, feel free to add a generous layer of parmesan shavings before baking your pie in the oven.

(Recipe by Bake & Bait)

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