University of Birmingham graduate with a passion for food & cooking as part of a healthy lifestyle

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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Shepherd's pie

This is a really good shepherd's pie recipe - it has the usual comfort food textures and richness, as well as being packed with tons of flavour from the fresh rosemary. A potato pie like this is a brilliant way to get some veggies in as well without it being daunting (I know that it's always not great to have a pile of veg on the side of your plate, it can be the last thing you want to eat). As a student, when I'm at uni and have less time and space, I tend to buy the Collman's or Schwartz (or Tesco or Sainsbury's equivalents) dried packet mixes where you just add water (as well as the mince, veg, potato etc) - these are also great too for flavour; I will be doing a post soon on a sausage casserole I made using one of these, as well as a post more focussed on meals to cook as a student - a sort of week dinner plan. A typical recipe will make about 3 or 4 good-sized portions so it's great to freeze portions and have them in a few days or weeks, or even months! Having said that about the packet mixes, you cannot beat a hearty home-made shepherd's pie so if you've got the time, I would highly recommend this for a family treat.

Serves 4-6 (I halved this)
- oil, for frying
- 2 medium red onions, chopped
- 3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 700-750g lamb mince (you can use beef if you prefer - technically this would make it a cottage pie)
- 2 large squidges of tomato puree
- 3-4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 200ml of lamb or beef stock
- splash of red wine (optional)
- salt & pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 250g frozen peas
- 1kg mashing potatoes, cut into chunks
- knob of butter
- splash of milk
- large handful of grated cheddar and breadcrumbs, for sprinkling

1. Heat the oil and add the onions, cooking until soft. Add the balsamic and cook until evaporated. Add the carrots and rosemary and stir together. Add the mince, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cook until browned.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4.
3. Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, stock, salt & pepper, and the bay leaf, and simmer. Add the peas.
4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large an of salted water for around 20 minutes, or until soft.
5. Drain them, and return to the an, adding the butter and milk, mashing until smooth.Season according to taste.
6. Tip the meat mixture into a large casserole dish and dollop on the mash, spreading it and forking to make a pattern. Sprinkle on the cheese and the breadcrumbs for a crunchy texture - perfect with the smooth mash.
7. Cook the pie for 20-30 minutes , or until golden on top and hot all the way through.

Enjoy :)

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