Slow-cooked shepherd’s pies
- January 2018
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 45 minutes, oven time 2 hours 25-30 min
Using lamb shoulder, instead of mince, and slow-cooking it until melt-in-the-mouth is the real game-changer in this British classic.
- 34.8g fat (16.3g saturated)
- 52.3g (13.3g sugars)
- Light olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
- 1.3kg lamb shoulder, diced
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
- 400g carrots, sliced diagonally 1cm thick
- 2 leeks, sliced diagonally
- 1cm thick
- 60g plain flour
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 300ml red wine
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 300ml lamb/beef stock
- A few fresh thyme and/or rosemary sprigs
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
For the topping
- 1kg maris piper potatoes, cut into 3cm chunks
- 50g butter
- 100g mature cheddar, grated
You’ll also need…
- Large, shallow flameproof casserole with a lid
- 6 x 300ml pie dishes
- Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. Heat a glug of oil in the casserole and, when hot, add the diced lamb shoulder. Sear on a high heat for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until browned all over. Set the lamb aside on a plate.
- Add a little more oil to the casserole, turn down the heat and add the onion. Gently fry for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, carrots and leeks and fry for another 10 minutes, stirring now and then.
- Return the lamb to the casserole, stir in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato purée and red wine. Stir well, turn up the heat and bubble the wine for a few minutes to reduce, then add the chopped tomatoes, stock, herbs and Worcestershire sauce. Stir again, season with salt and pepper and put the lid on the casserole. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
- Put the potato chunks in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well, put back in the pan and leave to steam dry for a minute or so, then mash with the butter until smooth. Taste, season well with salt and pepper and set aside.
- When the lamb is ready, remove the sprigs of herbs from the sauce, taste and season (you might want to add a little more Worcestershire sauce). Divide the lamb mixture evenly among the 6 pie dishes, then top with the mash. Alternatively leave the lamb in the shallow casserole and top with the mash or spoon into a baking dish.
- Scatter the grated cheese over the pie(s) and bake for 25-30 minutes (see Make Ahead) until the tops are golden and the stew bubbles out around the sides. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then serve with buttered greens or peas.
If you prefer cottage pie, use beef shin or braising steak instead of the lamb shoulder.You could also make a single pie in a 2 litre baking dish – add an extra 10-15 minutes to the cooking time.
Cook the lamb filling without the potato topping up to 48 hours in advance. Cool, then cover and chill for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. The fully prepared pie(s) will keep unbaked for 48 hours or can be frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost before serving, then follow the baking instructions in the recipe (step 6), adding an extra 10-15 min to the cooking time.
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