Shepherd’s pie with crispy sweetbreads
- April 2013
- Serves 6
- 1 hour to make, 2 hours 15 mins to cook
Crispy breadcrumbed sweetbreads bring an interesting twist to this comforting shepherd’s pie recipe.
- 53.2g (25.1g saturated)
- 67.2g (11.5g sugars)
- ½ lamb shoulder (about 1kg), bone-in
- 800g lamb mince
- 500g onions, finely sliced
- 1 star anise
- Vegetable oil to fry and deep-fry
- 300g carrots, finely sliced
- 400g mushrooms, finely sliced
- 500ml good-quality fresh lamb stock or chicken stock
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1.5kg potatoes, cut into chunks
- 125g butter
- 50ml milk
- Good grating of fresh nutmeg
- ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 6 lamb sweetbreads, membranes trimmed and prepared (ask your butcher to do this)
- 125g panko breadcrumbs (from Sainsbury’s and Tesco) or regular dried breadcrumbs to coat
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Put the lamb shoulder in a roasting tray, season and roast for 75-90 minutes until tender but pink. Set aside. Turn off the oven.
- Heat a large heavy-based sauté pan over a high heat and fry the lamb mince in small batches until browned all over. Drain in a colander, reserving the fat.
- Use a little of the reserved lamb fat to cook the onions with the star anise over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until they turn a rich golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Use a little more of the fat (or a splash of vegetable oil if there isn’t much left) to cook the carrots over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove and add to the onions.
- Use a little of the fat or some oil to cook the mushrooms over a high heat for 5-7 minutes until tender and golden. Return the lamb mince, onions and carrots to the pan and pour over the stock. Simmer for around 1 hour until the lamb is tender and the sauce is rich. Discard the star anise and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
- Add the herbs, then taste and season. Mix the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and sherry vinegar together in a small bowl. Add a little of the hot mince mixture to help it to combine, then stir it all back into the mince mixture. Put it all in a casserole and leave to cool.
- Dice the cooled lamb shoulder, then stir through the mince mix. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10-15 minutes until tender, drain, then mash with the butter, milk, nutmeg and wholegrain mustard. Season well.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Cover the cooled pie filling with the mash, then bake for 45 minutes until it starts to colour. (Alternatively, divide the mixture among 6 individual pie dishes/ovenproof pans, top with mash, then bake for 30 minutes.)
- Meanwhile roll the sweetbreads through the breadcrumbs. Heat 5-6cm vegetable oil in a pan to 180°C (when a cube of bread fries in 30 seconds). Fry the sweetbreads until the crumbs are crisp and golden, then serve with the pie and steamed, buttered savoy cabbage.
Make the pie filling and either freeze for up to 3 months or chill for up to 3 days. The assembled uncooked pie will keep chilled overnight.
Lamb sweetbreads from spring lambs are a traditional delicacy at this time of year – but generally you can only get them from butchers. They need fast, short cooking and their mild flavour sets them apart from other types of offal.
This rich dish calls for a ripe but rounded red. Try a Côtes du Rhône Village
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