My parents are visiting this weekend. After a week of marking marathons and cooking mishaps I wanted tonight’s dinner to be stress-free and undoubtably delicious. Though the following shepherd’s pie requires two nights preparation, neither part takes much effort and the results are amazing.
If you don’t believe me ask Gen and Keith. Two years ago I made this for a hogmany party. There was plenty left after dinner but by the morning it had all vanished. It seems Gen and Keith (the munchers) had got out of bed several times during the night to feast on the leftovers.
So what makes this shepherd’s pie special? Well, inspired by Jamie Oliver (yet again!) I use shredded lamb shoulder rather than mince. The meat is cooked very slowly with plenty of chunky vegetables and red wine creating a wonderfully rich sauce. Add a layer of mashed potato, perfectly crisp on top, and we have a rather spectacular shepherd’s pie. I think.
(Serves 6 generously)
Day 1 – Slow Cooked Lamb
1.3-1.5 kg Lamb shoulder
Bulb of garlic
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large leek, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
Palmful of thyme leaves
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
500ml red wine
- Pre-heat oven to 200oC.
- Rub the lamb with oil and seasoning. Cut small slits into the fat and stuff sprigs of rosemary into them as far as they’ll go.
- Lay out all of the vegetables (including the garlic cloves) and the herbs in a deep roasting tin. Place the lamb shoulder on top.
- Pour over the tomatoes and the wine.
- Cover the roasting tin tightly with a double layer of tinfoil.
- Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours.
- Remove tray from oven and leave to cool slightly before removing as much fat as possible from the lamb shoulder and shredding the meltingly tender meat.
- Add the meat to the vegetables (removing any twiggy bits of herb) . Cool and refridgerate.
Day 2 – The Pie
8 big potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
Milk/creme fraiche and butter
200ml Tomato Juice
1 egg, beaten
Boil the potatoes in well salted water until tender. Drain. Mash. Add milk/creme fraiche, butter and seasoning to taste.
- Add the meat/vegetable mixture to the bottom of a large heat proof dish or two smaller ones. Pour over the tomato juice and stir.
- Top with mashed potatoes. Use a fork to smooth the potatoes and make ridges on the surface. Brush with beaten egg.
- Cook in a 180oC preheated oven for 45 mins or until heated through and bubbling at the edges.