Apologize for the long silence, but I’ve been quite occupied as of late. The reason being me taking up fitness training, more so as a method of getting my family involved in it. Too much food (and God knows there’s so much of it around in my place) was getting them round and homey and it was up to me to get them moving. It’s working wonders for their health and overall well being and I must say, despite taking up a lot of my time, this makes it all the more worthwhile :)
I love, love, LOVE Shepherds Pie! I suspect that I love it so much because I love mashed potatoes (possible) but in general, I absolutely love it because it’s delicious, simple in flavor and so unassuming.
Rightly so, because the origin of Shepherds Pie is very much humble. Also known as ‘Cottage Pie” the dwellings of a humble peasant during the olden days, it usually means that even the poor could afford it (which is not the case right now because lamb is so bloody expensive). It is called shepherd’s pie because it was essentially a popular regular fare for shepherds who looked after lamb. I actually wouldn’t mind looking after lamb for a living if I got to eat shepherd’s pie every day!
It’s a simple meat and potato dish really, Irish in origin, humble fare with no fluff or fanfare. The beauty of the dish being it’s so easy to prepare!
- Prep Time : 20 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 minutes
- Yield : 8 servings
- Minced lamb meat - 500g
- Onions - 2 large, sliced
- Carrots - 2-3, chopped
- Green peas - 1 cup boiled
- Worcestershire sauce - 2 tblsps
- Red wine - 1 glass
- Tomato - 1 Large, chopped
- Celery - 100g
- Chicken or lamb stock - 1 cup
- Garlic - 1 tsps mashed
- Olive oil or Sunflower oil - for frying
- Butter - 1 tblsp
- Salt & pepper - to taste
- Thyme - 3 tsps, powdered
- Mashed potato
- Potato - 1.5 kg
- Butter - 8 tblsps
- Milk - 1 cup
- Sautee the garlic and the onions in oil until translucent. Add the chopped carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
- Add the meat. Cook till browned and if there is additional fat, drain it off.
- Add to this the butter and the peas and keep on heat stirring.
- Add the wine, the tomato and the Worcestershire sauce.
- Let it reduce slightly and add in the stock. Reduce gradually till it forms a thick mixture with little gravy.
To make the mashed potato
- Boil the potatoes and mash them until there are no lumps.
- Stir in the butter and the milk. Add salt and pepper as necessary.
- Pour in the meat mixture into an ovenproof casserole dish. Top with the mashed potato.
- Bake in the oven on moderate heat until the potatoes have become a golden brown on top.
Serve this on a cold, rainy day and make everyone happy!
The smell itself is intoxicating. House fills up this delicious aroma that you simply feel happy just reveling in it. Sit back with a book while it bakes an ideally, when it’s pouring outside!
The lamb with its unique herby taste, the carrots and the peas soaked in wine and the somewhat tart Worcestershire sauce – when you dig in, get a little bit of potato and meat both in a mouthful. The blast of flavour from the meat broth is countered by the mellow and mild mash and each note is distinctly brought forward by doing so. The thyme sings through the lamp and complements its herb-like taste while the carrots provide a sense of sweetness to the dish. The sour of the Worcestershire sauce and the violet tinged bouquet of the wine counters with this sweetness only to collide with the nutty of the green peas providing a hearty mouthful. The broth is chunky and chewy with a thick silky gravy, the mash is soft and slightly crunchy at the top – the two combine together to give your mouth something to think about!
Ideal for the weather – for a rainy evening. Serve with some rustic bread to mop all that lovely gravy up!
- Lamb can be alternated with beef and even with mutton. I however, haven’t tried any of those options and therefore cannot comment on the taste.
- Can’t find minced lamb? No problem! Just get whatever is available and chop it up in small pieces. Works just as well.
- Whether to add green peas or not is entirely up to you. Some even add corn and I think that would be equally as delicious as well.
- You can forgo the glass of wine if you want. The Irish version has wine it, others, not so.
- The original recipe calls for tomato puree. I however could not bother so I added a chopped up tomato instead. You can even add a bit of ketchup if you like.