Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shepherd's Pie


Serves 4 -6

I know we've gone heavy on the lamb recently, but this dish is two-fold. Firstly, it's a request, and I can't deny a request, and secondly we had a few lamb items on the barbecue last night (big hit) and there were always going to be leftovers. You can of course do this with what's left of a cooked joint, just add in your chopped up cooked meat after softening the onions. I also don’t know any children who don’t like shepherd’s pie, so it makes a great party dish just as much as it gets some proper food into your little darlings.

2 tblsp olive oil
900g lean minced lamb
Freshly ground black pepper
450g onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, picked and chopped
2 cloves garlic
25g butter
2 tblsp tomato purée
2 tblsp flour
200ml red wine
75ml Worcestershire sauce
1 litre chicken stock
1kg boiled floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper
50g butter
150ml milk
2 egg yolks
Freshly ground white pepper and salt

In a large frying pan, heat the oil until hot, add half 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 fat to drain. Repeat with the second batch of mince and place in the colander.

Add the onion to the pan with the thyme and garlic and a knob of butter, and cook until soft and translucent. Add the meat and tomato purée, then sprinkle over the flour. Cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour.

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 simmer and leave till the liquid has reduced and you have a casserole type consistency to your pie base.

Mash the potato until creamy and smooth, through a potato ricer if you have one. Put into a medium sized mixing bowl. Place the milk and butter into a small pan and heat until the butter is melted and the milk is about to boil. Pour over the potatoes and beat well, adding the egg yolks and seasoning with salt and white pepper.

Put the mince into a large baking dish, then top with the creamed potato. Use a fork to rough up the top. Place in a preheated oven at 200c/Gas 6 for 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown in colour.