Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie (or cottage pie if you're using beef - cows don't have shepherds hence the change in name) is a traditional way of using leftovers from a roast dinner. The meat would be shredded, the roast potatoes mashed up and the veggies incorporated into the meat sauce.

I don't often roast lamb or beef so I make my version of shepherd's pie using a pack of mince from the supermarket, however if you do have leftover roast meat then you can use that instead.

Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
500g lamb or beef mince
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup red wine
1 tspn thyme leaves (try and use fresh, it does make a difference in this dish)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of gravy (I use the Gravox Traditional powder)
1/4 cup Beerenberg pepper steak sauce (optional)
5 large potatoes, peeled and diced
100g butter

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add the vegetables and garlic and very gently saute for about 10 minutes until the vegetables begin to feel tender. Add the lamb mince and saute until it had browned through. (If you're using leftover roast meat, you'll only need to heat it through.)

While the meat is browning, preheat the oven to about 200C. (If using a fan-forced oven, turn it to about 180C.)

Add the flour and stir it through well then add the red wine. Bring the mixture to a boil then stir in the thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, gravy and (if using) the pepper sauce. Season with salt and let the mixture simmer gently for about 30 minutes. If it begins to look dry then add a little hot water from the kettle however you do want it to have a thick consistency.

Whilst the meat sauce is simmering, boil the potatoes until tender then drain and mash with the butter. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Remove the bay leaves, then spoon the lamb mixture into a large oven-proof dish. Dollop the mashed potato on top so it completely covers the lamb mixture. If the dish is quite full looking then place it on a baking tray as the meat sauce can bubble over the side a little and I find it's easier to clean an extra oven tray than clean the bottom of my oven.

Note: Real chefs will tell you not to put cheese on top because lamb and cheese don't "match" but if adding cheese is what it takes for your kids to eat, then add as much as you like!

Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the potato has browned and gone a little crunchy looking.


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