Shepherd’s Pie

shepherd's pieIf you enjoy cooking, why not try a taste of the UK? Here’s a traditional recipe called Shepherd’s Pie.

It’s a favourite with the British as it’s easy to make and is perfect for a cold, rainy day.

A shepherd’s pie uses lamb – a cottage pie uses beef.

If you sprinkle breadcrumbs instead of cheese on the top, it’s called a ‘Cumberland Pie’.

Serves 4-6 hungry people. Perfect for cold or rainy days.


For the sauce

Approx 900g minced lamb
2 onions
2 carrots
3 sticks celery
3 cloves
Fresh or dried oregano
Ground cinnamon
A splash of Worcester sauce (or soy sauce mixed with a little vinegar plus brown sugar or molasses)
A pinch or two of sugar
A splash of red wine (optional)
Olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Fresh mint leaves.
For the topping1 kg potatoes (for boiling)
A little butter
A little hard cheese (to be grated)

Choose a large pot or saucepan with a lid, preferably one that can also be placed in the oven later. (If not start with a large saucepan and transfer later to a casserole dish.) Pre-heat the oven to reach 180-190 degrees Centigrade.

Chop the onions, carrots and celery. Soften them over a medium heat in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the lamb and herbs. Soften until the lamb turns light brown but is not completely cooked. Add the tomatoes, a pinch or two of sugar, a splash or two of Worcester sauce (very British), and a splash of red wine if you like. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes and stir occasionally. Check for seasoning, add a little salt if necessary.

Place in the oven (or transfer to a casserole and place in the oven) for 1 hour. Make sure there is enough room in the pot or casserole to add the potato topping later.
Make the mashed potato topping. Peel and halve the potatoes. Place in a saucepan with salted water and boil until soft. (The British often use a pressure cooker to reduce the boiling time to 8-9 minutes.) Mash the softer potatoes in the saucepan. Add 2-3 knobs of butter and mash into the potatoes until they become smoother. Leave to cool.
Grate the cheese.

When the sauce is ready, take it out of the oven (but don’t turn the oven off.) You can locate and remove the cloves if you prefer. Place the mint leaves on top of the sauce. Then spread the mashed potato evenly on top of sauce and mint. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the potato.

Put the pie back in the oven until the top has turned a golden brown. Eat hot, with salad or a cooked green vegetable.

This dish remains tasty after freezing and reheating.
If you substitute minced beef for the lamb, you have another famous British dish called COTTAGE PIE.