When I sat down to draft this entry my mind decided to take leaps and bounds on connectivity. I decided to research the origins of the humble shepherd’s pie. I read articles proclaiming it an English dish dating back to the late 1700’s, an Irish dish and a French dish. There are even references to meat pies topped with potato in Argentina, Indonesia and Uruguay – don’t you just love Wikipedia.
But this also got me thinking about my origins. If anyone has heard me speak they will know I am a Yorkshire girl through and through and from looking in Ancestory.com I discovered that my families heritage has been in Yorkshire for longer than this pie has been eaten there. Which I think is pretty cool.
But whatever the origin, you just cannot beat the richness of the lamb filling bathing in a thick gravy topped off with fluffy mash potatoes and melted cheese. I also like a good dollop of mint sauce on the side. This is just heaven to me… and if I’m reminiscing about childhood dinners I would add homemade chips with extra gravy.
I also love the versatility of this dish. You can top with mash, swede, sweet potato. You can make it with a traditional lamb filling or maybe spice it up. It really is up to you.
- 600g Ground lamb
- 2 x White Onions
- 2 x Cloves of garlic
- 2 x Celery sticks
- 150g Mushrooms
- 2 x Carrot
- 1 tbsp Plain flour
- 15g Butter
- 750ml Lamb stock
- 1tsp Fresh Rosemary
- Worcester sauce
- 400g Floury potatoes
- 150g butter
- 50g Gruyère or Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Peel and chop the potatoes and boil until tender. Drain and mash with a little butter, salt and pepper to taste. (If you want a richer potato top then add a little cream or cheese to your mash.)
- I like to prepare all my vegetables, chopping them into small cubes of similar sizes. I use whatever vegetables are in my cooler box but have the onions, celery and carrots as a base. It’s an easy way to slip more vegetables into my girl’s food. When the food has a lovely gravy, they will eat almost anything.
- In a large frying pan, heat some olive oil then add the onion, fry until soft and then add the garlic stir for one minute then add the remaining vegetables and rosemary. Fry together for 3-5 minutes to give the vegetables some colour.
- In a separate pan brown, the lamb mince. Then add to the vegetables.
- To make the gravy, melt the butter in a pan and then add the flour to make a roux, then add lamb stock, whisking to ensure a smooth sauce. Add this to the other ingredients. Season to taste with the Worcester sauce but if you are using stock cubes check the flavour before adding salt as these can have quite a bit included already.
- To construct the pie, using a slotted spoon, transfer the pie filling into a deep oven dish, almost separating the gravy from the meat and vegetables. I then pour half the gravy over the top, retaining the other half to use as gravy when serving. I find adding the gravy to the meat and vegetables gives a deeper flavour. You could just make up a separate batch of gravy once the shepherd’s pie is in the oven.
- Using a spoon cover the top of the pie with the mash, using a fork to fluff up the top. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
- Cook in the oven for 40 minutes and serve with seasonal greens.