The humble shepherds pie. I think traditionally it was made from leftovers of the Sunday roast. Normally from lamb. I may be wrong. I’m drunk so who knows. I think that’s why it’s called shepherds pie. I guess it’s the whole shepherd / sheep thing. Then there’s a cottage pie which is traditionally with beef, but I don’t really get that. Surely shepherds have cottages too? And just because you have a cottage doesn’t mean you automatically have a cow. Who knows. Anyway, I made this one with lamb. Really good organic grass feb lamb. We’ve just started to get the first spring lamb here in Australia and it’s properly good.
This recipe is a full on proper job recipe. No messing around. Everything organic and I use a mixture of lamb mince and a leg of lamb. (yes, I’m a genius) It really helps create some interesting textures in the dish. And thats a really wanky thing to say but I’m learning different textures are important in a dish.
You will need 2 Pans. One large heavy based deep sauce pan and one large frying pan. I use a cast iron pans. They are the best thing to use and they last ages. I’m not really down with all that non stick shite. A proper seasoned cast iron pan is much better.
The following quantities will make a shit load.
- Organic Grass fed Lamb Mince – 1kg
- Organic Grass Fed lamb leg – 1kg – De bone and dice into 1 inch cubes (approx, Don’t get out a fucking tape measure) Keep the leg bone.
- 2 brown onions – halved then roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic – peeled but left whole
- 5 organic carrots – halved lengthways, then diced
- Chicken stock – 1lt – Use either home made stock, one of those fancy pouches or a stock cube. Just depends how much faffing you want to do and how much cash you want to spend.
- Frozen Peas
- 2-3 courgettes
- 3-4 large field / portobello mushrooms
- fresh mint – about a handful – roughly chopped
- bouquet garni herb mix – You can make it yourself if you want to be all wanky and fancy but you can buy dried herb mixes that are pretty good. Again just cook to your budget.
- Maldon Salt. Ditch your table salt and get Maldon. It’s best in the world. Fact.
- Pepper – freshly ground from a pepper grinder please.
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- Plain flour – 2 – 3 tablespoons seasoned with salt and pepper.
- White wine – 1 large glass
- worcester sauce
So, get your large, deep sauce pan on the heat. Once its hot add a good lug of olive oil. Enough to cover the base on the pan. Add the cloves of garlic and let them take on some colour on all sides. About 2-3 mins. Turn down the heat, you want no more than a medium heat. Now add the onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 mins. Stirring every minute or so.
Take the leg bone and pop that in the pan with the onions, carrots and garlic. I want to cook everything with this leg bone in the pan as it will help to give us more flavour.
Now. Because I’ve used a mixture of lamb mince and a leg of lamb. I boned the leg, diced up the meat and dusted with seasoned flour.
Ok so while this is slowly cooking grab your heavy based frying pan and get in on a high heat. Let this get really hot and add some olive oil and a handful of the diced lamb. Not too much! don’t overcrowd the pan. Let this get some colour on all sides and pop in the sauce pan. Repeat until all the diced lamb is done.
Now we’re going to do the same thing but for the lamb mince. Again in small batches with a properly hot pan. Now for each batch I want to sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of the flour mixture we used on the diced lamb that we saved. Also add a sprinkle of the bouquet garni dried herb mixture for each batch. Fry each batch off and once we’ve got some colour and the flour is fully cooked off, add it to the sauce pan. Repeat until all your mince is cooked.
Now grab a glass of white wine and de-glaze the pan. Give this about 1 minute then add to the sauce pan.
Now get the chicken stock and add to the pan. We just want to cover everything. Give a stir, bring to a simmer and turn down so it’s just simmering gently.
Put the frying pan back on the heat. Get it hot and add some oil and the zucchini. Season the cook off until it has taken on some colour on both sides. Grab a couple of handfuls of peas and chuck this in the pan. Toss together for 1-2 mins, add the mint, give it another toss for 30 seconds then put the peas and zucchini into the main pan.
Next up is the mushrooms. Basically do the same thing. Get the pan hot. Add the mushrooms, season then add a drizzle of oil. Cook for a few mins then we’re going to add 2 teaspoons of worcester sauce. Toss this for about 20 seconds then add the mushrooms to the main pan.
That’s pretty much it. We’re just going to let this simmer gently for a while to reduce and thicken. The flour we put in will help to thicken it so if it’s gone too thick then just add a bit more stock. I’d give it about 40mins – 1 hour on low. With about 10 mins to go put some potatoes on to boil. I’ve used sweet potato.
Now take the leg bone out. Remove your shirt, beat your chest and gnaw on the bone like a pre-historic man. Once you’ve had your fill, put your shirt back on, apologise to your housemates / wife / girlfriend and continue.
Note: the bone will be hotter than the sun so you will burn yourself. This is normal. You should do it anyway and just pretend you haven’t burnt the inside of your entire mouth.
I’d now turn off the heat and leave the lid on and let it sit while the potatoes finish cooking.
If you’re feeling patient then you can mash the potatoes and turn this into a proper shepherds pie but I generally do that the next day and just tuck in with some mash on the side and some simple steamed broccoli. (I actually couldn’t even be bothered with the broccoli but I thought about it which is the main thing.)
Sorted. I’m a bit too drunk to re-read this so apologies for any mistakes but I’m sure you get the general idea. Ideally you want to drink at least a bottle of red wine while you cook this to achieve the same result as me. Happy cocking.